Apple announces Windows Live rival – we’re jealous

By Chris | Posted June 9, 2008 22 comments

At Apple’s annual WWDC event, held today, Steve Jobs announced a new software+services product: MobileMe. Offering to synchronise emails, contact, and calendar data, the new service seems just like Windows Live. Except cooler (check out the screenshots) and also coming in at a fairly hefty $99 a year.

Firstly Apple announced a whole range of web-based applications to complement the existing desktop applications. There’s an email application in the browser, which from the screenshot looks very clean. Hotmail team take note. Contacts also synchronise between devices, similar to Windows Live for Windows Mobile if you are running that.

Then there’s the photos application, again it looks great in the browser, but as its not available until July we can’t comment on performance. For sure Apple has just raised the benchmark on Web2.0 design.

Finally they demoed a Calendar application in the browser. Looks pretty basic but still, it synchronises with the desktop (luckily for us the upcoming beta version of Windows Live Mail has that functionality too). Apple manages to get the calendar synchronising with the iPhone though, talk about delivering it all in one go. Impressed, yes.  

Engadget mentions that iDisk, Apple’s equivalent of Skydrive is getting an upgrade too, offering 20GB of online storage. The Apple website explains that the iDisk functionality allows users to access files from any Mac or PC, however it doesn’t appear as though these changes are synchronised between between devices. The ability to share folders with friends is there though, so to me this appears to be a SkyDrive, not Live Mesh competitor.

From a first look though, Apple’s consumer offering here is a) more complete than Windows Live b) packaged better but c) more expensive. We’ll definitely be giving the 60 day free trial a go once it’s available.

(Images taken from Engadget liveblog)

Posted June 9th, 2008 at 6:39 am
Category: News
Tags: Apple, Windows Live
  • G-Z

    The sad thing is that microsoft has with windows live mail, windows live calendar and so on all the technology they need to offer exactly that product. They should be faster and get their UI really, really clean and not just semi clean . I don’t agree that me.com is more complete, but it’s a more intelligent product with a clear strategy. It has a clear idea behind it what value it’s supposed to bring to the user. But on the other web 2.0 services should be free. So me.com is no real alternative after all.

  • Khristopher

    I’m not jealous at all. It looks better and probably functions better, but it isn’t free.

    I take it this will work on Windows as it’s all through the browser?

  • Chris

    Sure its not free, a major downside I agree. But look at what Apple is delivering, compared to what Microsoft has delivered in Windows Live thus far. Arguably most of the announcement brings Apple’s features in-line with MS (looking at contacts and mail) but photos and calendar are definitely ahead. Contacts, Email, Photos and Calendar synching with desktop, web and mobile – that is a complete solution imo.

    Yes it will work on Windows – http://www.apple.com/mobileme/features/pc.html

  • Hb8

    I think MS’s problem is no one knows what any other product is doing and can’t coordinate between them. Speculation of course. But how can they release Windows Live for Mobile with Live Mail and Messenger sync, but not sync calendar especially after totally redoing Live Calendar?? It’s frustrating being a user of several Windows Live products and keeping hope that MS will get their act together, but yet consistently feeling let down. I had to buy a Mac for school (my classes only use Final Cut Pro) and Apple’s MobileMe is very attractive. I’d hate to buy an iPhone though. But, hey, they’re only $200.

  • PSCSmoke

    Clarification: with the Live for Mobile Application there is calendar sync with Live Office (not free type)

    I think frustration comes from MS empowering it’s customer base with public betas, and cutting RnD costs; where as Apple just flops it out on the table when complete.

  • Krampster

    Well, I certainly wouldn’t call them more complete, but I give them bonus points for focusing on the most important points: Mail, Calendar, Photos.

    If Windows Live took all the employees working in other areas, and focused them in these areas, they’d certainly be ahead of the competition.

  • MisinformedDNA

    This website is a joke. Sorry guys. I used to really enjoy this site, but it’s gone down hill for me. The biggest joke in the article was this line: “What isn’t mentioned is whether the files stored there get synched between devices, essentially recreating Live Mesh.”

    So you don’t know if it syncs files, but *if* it did, it resyncs Live Mesh. No “if” it synced files it would be a small portion of Live Mesh. SkyDrive syncs files, Live Mesh is a lot more than that and you know it.

    Bah, anyway…

  • quikboy

    I agree. That’s one thing I like about Apple; They can get their act together and release an online service that already rivals what Live has to offer. And it already looks much more coordinated and cohesive than the tangled bunch the Windows Live, Live Search, and MSN are doing.

    But, it’s just merely a copy of what Windows Live, Google, and Yahoo! have been doing for a long time.

    $99 for a glossy interface and a copy of what other services have done for years:

    Storage – SkyDrive already does 10GB of storage for free. AOL does 25 for free. 20GB for $99 doesn’t seem appealing, does it?
    Mail – Exactly like the Yahoo! Mail web interface. Except for “Quick Reply” nothing new there.
    Address Book – Again, Live has a pretty nice contact system.
    Calendar – Google does a great job on this one.
    Gallery – Can you say Flickr? Though the uploading tool is kinda useful.
    iDisk – I think Live Mesh covers this pretty much, eh?

    What a joke.

  • incendy

    Meh, the thing I love so much about the Live Search, Live Maps, Live Writer, Mesh etc is the programming API’s. This seems like just another apple tool for simpletons. Boring

  • BuciboLebo

    Please share more about the upcoming Windows Live Mail and how it incorporates calendar. That is new to me.

  • Avatar X

    i think that you missed several very important notes.

    1.- Windows Live is the unbundled version of the core software packages of iLife.

    2.-MobileME is the replacement of .Mac

    3.- the software they have show is a update of the preview “visor” software in .Mac

    4.-This new software was build with Sproutcore basis, software that .Mac had used before.

    5.-MobileMe should be seen as the Online version of iLife. so i think that is where you are coming from with the windows live angle.

    6.-the only truly new thing in the whole deal is the new contact agent and the software. together they are a evolution of ActiveSinc and Live Contacs. something that slightly alluded rudely during the keynote when someone said “activestink” and the official slogan that says “exchange for the rest of us”

  • Chris

    @MisinformedDNA: That line was ammended straight after posting for the reasons you mention and because the Apple website was updated with actual information.

    @Quikboy: I agree its not that innovative compared to existing stand-alone services, but as a package, its definitely more compelling than WL.

    @HB8: Great example of what I feel too.

  • Alimaggs

    Surely I’m not the only person that thinks the Windows Live branding itself is kind of a weak point?

    I can see the idea behind the branding – Windows Live has become an extension of windows (rather than the ‘online services’ it began as) with photo gallery, the mail client etc… But surely, part of the reason why Facebook and Apple do so well is the cool-ness factor of their branding and, less so recently, but Google’s the same.

    Windows is not cool. Vista is cooler than XP but neither product is particularly ‘down with the kids’.

    If it were me working on the wave 3 UI and product range, I’d drop the “Windows” from Windows Live, and have all the services run from live.com under the more social-networking-orientated wave 3 header – I’d shift ahead with the rebranding of the live.com search to whatever name they had picked out 6 months ago (before the Yahoo takeover bid) and shift that to its own domain and make the two seperate as it’s just confusing NOT having windows live at live.com (home.live.com anybody? No?).

    It’s a mess. If MS wants to make money out of Windows Live, it needs to actually be cool. I think what the Live suite does is fantastic, but I’m slightly geeky, along with probably 90% of Liveside.net’s reader base. The average person thinks Facebook is cooler, and that Google is cooler and that Apple is cooler. It’s all about the brand, and the branding, and nobody is realising this yet.

  • BV2312

    Software turnover from beta to full release is so slow at Microsoft, I think as a community we should try to make Microsoft see that…

  • BV2312

    I just remembered that Microsoft did buy Danger Inc, this year, could we see a iPhone killer? lol

  • Avatar X

    one of the most note worthy about the keynote is the ridiculous way of showing the “not optimized” for demo mobileme software as if it was the most magical thing ever… “not like you are supposed to see in the browser”… i guess schiller has never used any of the last 1-2 year old web 2.0 apps……..that was not lame but SUPER lame.

  • bf1977

    The services of the MobileMe can be equal to the one of Windows Live, but ours it is of not paid favour and as of the Apple.

    The Microsoft could was to increase the development of applicatory of Windows Live pra other platforms as of the Apple, Linux, Unix and of the Windows 64bit and Windows 2003 and 2008 server.

    I use in desktop of house an installed Windows XP and have all the applicatory ones of Windows Live.
    Now in my Notebook alone I obtained to install the Messenger, because it is a Windows 2003.
    Microsoft would have to see that it has people that they use Window 2003 in notebook for development more and all.

    I went to be very happy if he had chance to install Windows Live Mail in my Windows 2003.

  • palmz22user

    MS needs to get Live Mesh out the door ASAP. Seems like a lot of Windows Live products are in perpetual beta and then they die. It is just very hard to imagine that with so much engineering resources available at MS that they cannot get products out. These are web applications! It also reflects poorly on the development tools/environment that the Windows Live team uses when others, using open source/non-MS technology (such as Apple), can move products out the door just at blazing speed. Putting marketing and politics aside, are MS tools/stack not conducive for building web applications?

  • the andyman

    So the next version of Windows Live Mail has calendar support? :P Should make me use WLCalendar a bit more as I’m a little disappointed by the current web interface.
    I’m led to believe that the next build of Mail will be version 14, and the current is 12 so do you know what happened to 13? Just too unlucky for the softies to make?

    @Alimaggs, agree with everything you said 100%

  • BasP

    I also want to know where you guys got this info on a new version of WLM. The WLM blog hasn’t moved since november, so some info would be nice.

  • Chris

    @BasP: As andyman mentions above, there are Wave 3 versions available internally now.

  • damaster

    @quikboy: Even though what’s in MobileMe is already out there, one thing Apple does properly is having them bundled and working all together in one place. It’s the integration between all those services what people want.

    And that’s what Windows Live is currently lacking. It’s got all these services out there, but they’re not integrated together! I really hope Microsoft has realised this and get it right in Wave 3.