Microsoft Details Its 'Mesh' Vision

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Additionally, Live Mesh is aiming to support a common set of application programming interfaces, or APIs.

"The Live Mesh platform exposes a number of core services including some Live Services that can all be accessed using the Live Mesh API; these include storage (online and offline), membership, sync, peer-to-peer communication and newsfeed," Mital said in his blog post.

A consistent programming model

"The programming model is the same for the cloud and all connected devices, which means a Live Mesh application works exactly the same regardless of whether it’s running in the cloud, in a browser, on a desktop, or on a mobile device," Mital continued. A software developers kit will be available "in the near future," he added.

Initially, the technology preview will only support Windows XP and Vista, and for the first few months, only English. In the near future, Microsoft plans to add support for the Mac and mobile devices, Mital said.

That leaves several unanswered questions, not the least of which is when Live Mesh will actually become available. But AMR Research's Yarmis suggested patience may be needed.

"It's really early on ... it's incomplete device support and incomplete functionality [in the preview] so it's as much of a tease as it is a solution," Yarmis added. "In terms of the vision, it's got a long way to go, but you've got to start somewhere."

However, Yarmis thinks this might just be the right solution at the right time.

"We've spent all this time trying to solve this at a client level but now we're seeing someone say, 'No, it has to be done at the architectural level.'"

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