- Microsoft has lifted the lid on a new Web service called Live Mesh, designed to connect a multiplicity of devices and applications online. The service is seen by many as a key plank in the company's vision for the future of the Web.
Live Mesh is designed to blur the lines between running software and storing data on a desktop and "in the cloud". Microsoft's Amit Mital said Live Mesh would "connect and bring devices together... to work in concert".
Live Mesh pits Microsoft against companies like Amazon, Google and Salesforce.com which are already offering different varieties of so-called software-as-a-service systems. It comes as Microsoft is engaged in a bid to buy rival Yahoo and emphasises just how important the web has become to the firm.
"We may be seeing signs of a Microsoft that is newly focused," Jonathan Yarmis, a vice president and analyst at AMR Research, told Reuters news agency.
He added: "This is exciting because it has as much to do with who is doing it as what Microsoft is doing."
Microsoft has long been criticised for its unfocused efforts in the online space and for attempting to tie the use of Windows to the web.
While initially offered for Windows XP and Vista users, Microsoft has said Live Mesh will also be rolled out to Apple Macs...