Microsoft set to unveil MobileMe competitor next month

Microsoft is planning to unveil three new mobile services at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona next month. The software giant is aiming to move your mobile data into the cloud and rival Apple's MobileMe service.

Microsoft announced the Windows Azure platform in October at its professional developers conference and will be expanding its software + services platform with several new products. According to sources close to Microsoft, the company has been working on products codenamed SkyBox, SkyLine and SkyMarket. The final offerings are likely to be named under the Windows Live branding.

"SkyBox" is a service for users to sync a phones information with the web. Microsoft will be offering automatic backup and restore services, access and management of phone data and provide easy communication and sharing with others. The service will also allow syncing of contacts, email/SMS, calendar items and pictures into the cloud, similar to Apple's MobileMe. The difference from Apple's offering is Microsoft could be set to offer this out to non Windows Mobile devices.

"SkyLine" will be aimed at small businesses. Offering similar functionality to SkyBox, businesses will be able to setup their phones with Microsoft's Exchange hosting with their own domain names.

"SkyMarket" was originally discovered in September 2008 when Microsoft advertised several external job positions. SkyMarket is the codename for Microsoft's mobile marketplace, a competitor to Apple's AppStore and RIM's Blackberry application center. This service will only be available on Windows Mobile devices and will showcase the 1000s of Windows Mobile applications available today.

Microsoft is also expected to unveil Windows Mobile 6.5 at the MWC. Neowin revealed in November that 6.5 was being tested by device partners and would be unveiled in 2009 Q1. Little details are available on the 6.5 upgrade but we can confirm that those leaked 6.5 screenshots are genuine concept shots for the honeycomb web start menu.

Neowin will be live from the Mobile World Congress next month, stay tuned for more information.

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Nice - hopefully i can get something like that for cheap(er) too. I love Exchange servers and having the newest with backed support from MS would be sweet!

Oooh looks like we got a nod from pislik

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They could just update Windows Live for Mobile in order to do all this, but they release one more service that nobody will understand.

They could just take viigo and build an RSS-based "AppStore", but they're putting lots of effort into creating a totally new "AppStore" thing.

Let's see: We got Windows Live, we got Live Mesh, we got Skydrive, we got Zune services, we get SkyBox. What's next?

How many redundant services and applications will they release until they understand that none of the services is close to perfect, nobody understands the services and thus nobody's going to use them and they just waste their time developing thousands of redundand services.

So typically Microsoft!

Can't the make just ONE PERFECT SERVICE? Can't they finally understand that people like Apple because everyone understands their products?

I wonder how much developers at Microsoft get paid for wasting their time on developing redundant services instead of working together on ONE PERFECT SERVICE.

I even wonder how much employees get paid for thinking of new ideas and new ways to confuse the customer.


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I feel like I am in the middle of a Terminator movie with all this "Sky" talk in computers. When will the "SkyNet" computers take over the world? I think I will just keep running my work at home business from my regular computer.

Mesh is getting mentioned a lot here even though it wasn't mentioned in the original article. Realise something about Mesh, its still in beta (i.e. its not finished) and everything that is available today at www.mesh.com is the proverbial tip of the iceberg. At its core Mesh is a syncronisation platform, the ability to share files at www.mesh.com is simply one application built on top of that platform. We should expect that some of the existing Windows Live services will also be built atop that platform.

I don't think they will, we've been saying that about other MS services. They are all so disjointed and separated from each other. Seems like they don't want people to have 1 automated service that does a whole bunch of useful stuff, but would rather for 100 apps that do the same thing and have nothing to do with each other.

offroadaaron said,
I don't think they will, we've been saying that about other MS services. They are all so disjointed and separated from each other. Seems like they don't want people to have 1 automated service that does a whole bunch of useful stuff, but would rather for 100 apps that do the same thing and have nothing to do with each other.

Given that the Windows Live team have already publicly stated that they will be doing I think we can safely say that you are wrong.

jamiet said,
Given that the Windows Live team have already publicly stated that they will be doing I think we can safely say that you are wrong.

MS can say whatever they like, Ill believe it when i see it.

This is what happens:

MS: Hey guys lets make more random services, we only have like 100 and half of them are double ups.
People: yay MS more services I love MS.

2 weeks later.
People: you remember that MS service that came out last week, I never use it, I only use hotmail or live mail.
MS: damn noone uses this stuff, lets make more.
People: I cant even find that service MS made now, sites so hard to get around!

thealexweb said,
The Sky idea wasn't clever, I keep thinking of skydrive when I read it.

Isn't that a good thing? They're all services in the cloud - why not make 'em sound the same?

Maybe when you use Skybox to backup your data online it goes into your Skydrive?

That would make sense imo, and I hope MS does it like that. The best thing about the Live services is they interoperability between each and so on.

But Mesh itself is a app you install and run on your mobile device right? These are just simple services and can run on non WinMo phones as well.

Plus they're phone only, while Mesh covers the PC and Mac sync of data as well.

Sure using Mesh does this, but what if you don't want to sync/backup stuff on your phone with a PC/Mac?

In the end Mesh is a step above these "services".

GP007 said,
But Mesh itself is a app you install and run on your mobile device right? These are just simple services and can run on non WinMo phones as well.

Plus they're phone only, while Mesh covers the PC and Mac sync of data as well.

As does MobileMe.

I'm think 6.5 will be more of a catch-up to make WinMo more consumer-friendly and more refined (on its own merits). WinMo 7 will most likely where all the more innovative stuff will be.

Hmm BEtween syncing up with outlook via bluetooth, and live mesh running on my htc fuze i dont need this.

Also CrimsonRedMK so apple Strictly copies microsoft also so what does it matter.

Hopefully this means Apple will revamp and improve mobileme. I'd like all my photo's on my iPhone auto syncing with mobileme.

Nice - hopefully i can get something like that for cheap(er) too. I love Exchange servers and having the newest with backed support from MS would be sweet!

Oooh looks like we got a nod from Engadget!

How so?

Microsoft had Live Mesh before MobileMe. Even though it's still not finished, it can accomplish much more.

A centralized app store has existed before on Palm and Nokia devices, if I recall correctly.

If being more consumer-friendly is copying, then maybe we should stick with only one company to make everything for us.

"while innovating, they copy Apple"

So, which is it? Because we all know who has the hottest non-stop photocopiers in their office. I think they were "borrowed" from XEROX...

Mobile me used to be .mac, which Apple has had for quite a while now (since 2002), but in a form slightly more limited than MobileMe - but for all intents and purposes it was cloud computing. I'm not sure what .mac was before, but I know Apple has had iDisk service for years now.

"MobileMe...for all intents and purposes it was cloud computing"

LOL. Calling MobileMe "cloud computing" is proof positive that the term has become an overused buzzword. Congratulations.

But Mesh also covers PC and Mac sync with mobile phones etc. What if you just want to do it for phones only? You still should have a WinMo only service AND these services can be used on Blackberry as well it sounds like.

GP007 said,
But Mesh also covers PC and Mac sync with mobile phones etc. What if you just want to do it for phones only? You still should have a WinMo only service AND these services can be used on Blackberry as well it sounds like.

That's a pretty lousy way of looking at it. Why have a duplicate service if you can tailor one to handle both well?

Maybe, but SkyBox is just for mobile phone backup really. And less about syncing information between your phone and your PC.

Again, if you don't want or keep this info on your PC why bother with Mesh? Way more people have mobile phones and keep all there contact info there etc. So why not offer them a basic backup for their lists/SMS to the cloud, so then if they lose their phone or it breaks they don't have to worry.

I hope they just drop skydrive and integrate it into live mesh.
So many products coming from microsoft its easy to get confused...

mesh calendar, mesh contacts, mesh drive etc...

It's not clear what Mesh will be like later on, but Mesh is more of a sync app between PC/Mac and mobile phones. Though the big difference here is that Mesh is also a platform of sorts, and developers can write apps for Mesh if they want.

The above Windows Mobile "services" are just that, services. But I do expect MS to tie these into the rest of the Windows Live services on the PC side in some form. Like using Skybox to backup you videos/photos to Skydrive works imo.

As it is right now Mesh just uses a shared Mesh specific folder that's like 5GB, but you can only use that through Mesh itself which makes it different from Skydrive as well.

jamiet said,
None of those actually exist. You've made them up.

What I meant to say was that they should simplify the product line.
Skydrive and Mesh both offering 5GB of storage. Why not combine both and offer the user 10GB of unified storage.

Those other products i mentioned would be easier to understand... I know that they dont exist.

GP007 said,
It's not clear what Mesh will be like later on, but Mesh is more of a sync app between PC/Mac and mobile phones. Though the big difference here is that Mesh is also a platform of sorts, and developers can write apps for Mesh if they want.

The above Windows Mobile "services" are just that, services. But I do expect MS to tie these into the rest of the Windows Live services on the PC side in some form. Like using Skybox to backup you videos/photos to Skydrive works imo.

As it is right now Mesh just uses a shared Mesh specific folder that's like 5GB, but you can only use that through Mesh itself which makes it different from Skydrive as well.


I thought Azure was the cloud platform... ?

Nauge said,
What I meant to say was that they should simplify the product line.
Skydrive and Mesh both offering 5GB of storage. Why not combine both and offer the user 10GB of unified storage.

Those other products i mentioned would be easier to understand... I know that they dont exist.


Fair point, but remember that Mesh is still in beta whereas Skydrive is a released product. Maybe they will combine them but Mesh is in beta for a reason - its not finished yet.
By the way, Skydrive offers 25GB these days.

Azure is it's own "services platform" you use it to make your own service that runs on either MS's datacenters for you or your own if you so choose to.

Mesh is more of a app platform in that you still have to install Mesh on your PCs, macs and WinMo phones and then use it.

Titoist said,
Huh? 0.o... I thought the competitor to MobileMe was Mesh! What the hell is this crap?


No, Mesh is not a competitor to MobileMe and no-one with any semblance of sense or knowledge on the matter has ever said that it was. You've just listened to all the other braindead idiots who assumed that was the case when Mesh and MobileMe came out.

Should have figured SkyNet was a Microsoft project. No wonder they went on a murderous rampage, they got the BSOD error

Xero said,
Should have figured SkyNet was a Microsoft project. No wonder they went on a murderous rampage, they got the BSOD error ;)


LOL - good one!

So if the honeycomb is the startmenu then its safe to say this is conceptual for WM standard and not Pro? They better not pull another '6.1' incident and give the goodie(s) (in that case the sliding today panels) to just Standard (WM Professional user here)