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Summary:

Right now Microsoft’s Windows Live efforts are the software giant’s answer to web applications and cloud computing. In fact, however, they’re less a cloud strategy than a layer of fog over the multibillion-dollar packaged software franchises that keeps Microsoft going. But the Redmond-based behemoth isn’t dumb, […]

Right now Microsoft’s Windows Live efforts are the software giant’s answer to web applications and cloud computing. In fact, however, they’re less a cloud strategy than a layer of fog over the multibillion-dollar packaged software franchises that keeps Microsoft going.

But the Redmond-based behemoth isn’t dumb, and as its chief software architect, Ray Ozzie, said in his interview last week with Om, Microsoft is beginning to navigate the cloud. The release of a new version of FolderShare points to that. The Austin-based startup that built the product was acquired by Microsoft two and a half years ago, only to undergo more than four reorganizations within the first 18 months. In fact, the FolderShare product was going to be shelved — that is, until Microsoft realized that web applications were the place to be. So it’s taken until now to launch a new version.

If you read our review, you know my complaint about FolderShare is that it’s not really doing much in the cloud, which makes it difficult to use for online collaboration and backup. However, judging from the design elements and team members working on FolderShare and Microsoft’s online storage product, SkyDrive, I’m betting we’ll soon see another new launch, one that brings the two together. While I still plan on checking out some of the online storage programs mentioned in the comments (isn’t ElephantDrive simply a repackaged Amazon s3?), I’m also eager to see what Microsoft can do.

  1. uh, why don’t you check this video out, about 45ish minutes into the episode listen to what’s discussed:
    http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=333294
    (disclosure: i worked on this episode as well)

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  2. Hi Stacey ,

    Per your question above, ElephantDrive is not simply a front end for S3.

    Disclaimer: I am a member of the ElephantDrive team.

    The service makes use of S3 as part of its back end, primarily as a cost effective way to scale and offer additional geographic redundancy.

    While S3 is a great service, it is a “raw” service. ElephantDrive offers a wide variety of features and functionality (Continuous Data Protection, secure sharing, drive mapping, search-ability, sort-ability, etc…) that aren’t available via S3 and aren’t on its roadmap. Additionally, while S3 has proven very robust and reliable, it has had several outages. As ElephantDrive systems are not fully dependent on S3, ElephantDrive users expereince no downtime whatsoever as a result of the S3 hiccups.

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  3. Stacey Higginbotham Wednesday, March 19, 2008

    @Mark, thanks for the details.

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  4. [...] Many have tried to fix the problem of digital complexity before. Apple has come closest to solving the e-riddle of devices. In many ways Live Mesh does remind us of Apple’s Digital Hub strategy, that included iSync software and dot.Mac service. It tried to solve the syncing riddle. There are many start-ups which are trying to solve this problem, most prominent of them being Sharpcast, that recently introduced its SugarSync service. Microsoft had acquired FolderShare, an early player in data synchronization space. (Related story: Pushing Microsoft Into The Cloud.) [...]

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  5. I am approaching the cloud from the end-user perspective, where its all foggy up there, and all that matters is how easy it is to interact with my own personal data on the smallest footprint of a device.
    I’m an anticipated fan of the CherryPal C100, which is being touted as a cloud computer. The CherryPal™ C100 desktop is about the size of a paperback book with the performance you would expect from a full-size desktop computer. It has Freescale’s triple-core mobileGT processor for multimedia performance and feature-rich user interfaces, while only consuming as much power as a clock radio. CherryPal uses 80 percent fewer components than a traditional PC, and because it has no moving parts, it operates without making a sound and will last 10 years or more. I am excited about how the CherryPal can bridge barriers to people who have not had access to computers or the internet because of money, fear, education or other challenges. I will be commenting on my experience of using it on my blog as soon as I get my own CherryPal C100! You can use CODE CPP206 to get your own CherryPal for $10 less than purchase price. CherryPal for Everyone at http://cherrypal.blogspot.com

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  6. [...] was broad but cautious enthusiasm about the company having stepped up its push into collaborative services and software — after all “the cloud” isn’t going away, most people said, and Microsoft [...]

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  7. [...] Corp.: Microsoft’s current cloud offering, Windows Live, is not getting high marks. Stacey Higginbotham described it as “less a cloud strategy than a layer of fog over the multibillion-dollar [...]

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