Live Mesh on its last legs as SkyDrive rises

Now that SkyDrive has taken over many -- but not all -- of Live Mesh's functions, Ray Ozzie's most enduring stamp on Redmond will fade away

Many people forget that Ray Ozzie was once Bill Gates' hand-chosen successor -- or at least, one of a very small group of people who appeared to have Gates' full confidence. Now Windows Live Mesh, Ozzie's most enduring legacy at Microsoft, is rapidly headed into oblivion. And I'm sure there are plenty of people inside Microsoft who don't mind that one little bit.

With the hastily assembled upgrade to SkyDrive currently front and center, let's take a moment to examine how its feature set contrasts with Windows Live Mesh:

  • SkyDrive lets you sync data between a PC and the cloud, but it doesn't have the Live Mesh feature that lets you sync data from PC to PC, without jumping through the cloud.
  • SkyDrive sticks everything in one folder on your desktop. Live Mesh lets you sync folders in arbitrary locations on your PC. If you want to sync arbitrary folders with SkyDrive, you have to drag them into the SkyDrive folder. It's messy and inelegant. Some applications won't let you set the default folder so it sits inside SkyDrive.
  • SkyDrive lets you "fetch" files from remote PCs that are properly connected. Live Mesh isn't restricted to copying files; it lets you go onto the desktop of connected PCs.
  • Live Mesh lets you sync a subset of all of your data, which is particularly beneficial on devices that can't hold the whole SkyDrive enchilada. For those who have upgraded to the 25GB SkyDrive, that's a big commitment on all of your devices.
  • Live Mesh keeps track of certain settings, including Internet Explorer favorites. That capability will be built into Windows 8, providing you use a Microsoft Account to sign in to Windows 8. But that's an entirely different kettle of fish.

Have no doubt: Windows Live Mesh is on its last legs. If nothing else, it's one of the very last Microsoft products to carry the "Windows Live" moniker -- a certain kiss of death, it seems.

This story, "Live Mesh on its last legs as SkyDrive rises," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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