Before going any further I'd like to remind you that this is not a pre-written post. I learned about this an hour ago and these are my initial thoughts. Things might look completely different in the morning.
Though...I doubt it. The quick snippit is that Microsoft Mesh, for right now, is just a sync-able desktop. Sign Up for a Mesh account, add several computers, store all your stuff in local "Mesh Folders" and everything syncs up nicely. That's about it for now.
But the real promise of this is the SDK. As Scoble put it...
We haven’t even gotten into the developer SDK. They spent about an hour showing me how to build new kinds of syncable apps on top of the Mesh in a variety of tools.
Now you’re just getting a taste of how Microsoft is going to use the Mesh to stay relevant. It is bringing its developers onto the Internet in an interesting new way.
So this is Microsoft's strategy for the future, sync based apps built around Feedsync feeds. My initial thoughts...
Lock-In: A big part of me feels like this is Microsoft trying to devise another way to lock everyone in. Like they are trying to replace Windows with the cloud rather than just provide a great service.
A Whole Lot of Effort for Developers: For a Developer the question is this: You can build one Online App. Or you can build One Adobe Air App. Or you can go with Microsoft and build an App for each and every platform out there all based around Microsoft's Sync technology. So my question is, why would I go with Microsoft?
A Whole Lot of Files for Users: So lets say I buy into Microsoft's grand vision, sync everything up, and carry a copy of everything on each one of my devices. Doesn't that mean I have 20 copies of files to worry about now? If I forget to delete my old computer from my Mesh account do my files still float around on that PC? Continuing to update while now in the hands of others? This system seems awfully insecure. Its true that users should be careful about leaving files on old computers but one lesson I've learned as a developer is never to trust the user to act in the ideal way.
Not Much Gain For Anyone (But Microsoft): I think my main problem with this is that it seems like an initiative that is "strategy based" and not "user based". Its designed to pull the focus back to the desktop. But with connections getting faster and web based technology getting more interactive why would I revert back to a desktop model? In a constantly connected world do I really want my files residing on every computer I touch?
Obviously I'm going to keep a very close eye on this but right now it seems profoundly uncompelling. Almost like Microsoft made a checklist of their desires (lock people to a platform, put the focus back on desktop computing, etc...) and built a product around that without much thought given to the user.
I'm a Microsoft Developer, my platform of choice is ASP.NET, my language of choice is C#, and I find this completely uninteresting. If that's the case how on Earth does Microsoft plan to convince those hostile towards them to come over?