Microsoft Live Mesh is AIR++

This post on the Microsoft Live Dev blog reminded me to view some of the Live Mesh videos Microsoft has put out for developers – this quick tour is a good place to start; this video with Ori Amiga has more details with examples.

A few comments. First, it seems to me that Live Mesh is at heart a feed aggregrator. It is interesting to me because I had high hopes for Microsoft’s plans to integrate RSS into the operating system, and wrote about it in 2005. Sadly, Microsoft messed up its common feed platform – though I am perhaps one of the few who uses it outside IE7 or Outlook, with a custom feed reader thrown together in VB.

Live Mesh takes the feed aggregation concept and adds a few things. These include a REST API for posts and updates; a synchronization engine; an identity system so that you can control access; and a local feed server that works entirely offline when needed. Hence MOE (Mesh Operating Environment), also known as the Service Composition Runtime.

By the way, Mesh can synch peer to peer as well as with the cloud hub. Interesting for Intranet usage.

So what’s an application? A feed of course, one that contains stuff you can execute. The local runtime could be just HTML and Javascript engine; but you can see how nicely Silverlight fits into this scheme of things. It’s a neat deployment model. Buying an application becomes similar to subscribing to a web site, except you get an executable that works offline as well as online. As Amiga explains in the video above, this is about performance as well as convenience. The speed of the Net cannot match a local store.

Another aspect of this is that you can use Mesh services in your non-Mesh application, essentially as a data source that is automatically synchronized across everywhere.

If I’m anywhere close to grasping this, then it is not inherently Windows-centric. It also strikes me that this is AIR++, where the ++ is services and synchronization; Adobe should worry – except that Adobe has AIR out already and is no doubt working on great things for version 2.0.

A question though: what’s the business model? Commercial MESHable services? Tools and hosting? Premium MESH? MESH with ads? Right now, I guess Microsoft will do anything to buy mind share and market share for cloud services; but that will not do long-term.