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November 9, 2005

Microsoft: FolderShare to boost Windows Live

Just days after outlining its new software-based services strategy, Microsoft announced the acquisition of yet another offering to add to its growing portfolio of on-line services. Microsoft will hope to use FolderShare, a file-synchronisation technology provider, to help it eclipse Sun's Open Office initiative and Google's own ambitious plans in this very same area.

By CBR Staff Writer

Microsoft has acquired FolderShare, a file sharing and synchronization system.

The FolderShare technology is comprised of a Microsoft Windows software application and a Web-based service. Together they allow users to create private and secure computer-to-computer (aka: P2P) networks, across which files of any type can be accessed, shared, and synchronised.

A useful tool, FolderShare provides a convenient means of remotely accessing files stored on a PC either back at the office or at home via a standard Web browser (including some hand-held devices, such as Pocket PCs). However, the feature most likely to attract users to this product is the system’s clever P2P file sharing capabilities. Supporting files of any type and up to 2GB in size, FolderShare offers a quick, easy, and relatively secure way to share the contents of selected computer folders with friends, family, or colleagues.

Although ideal for individual and small business use, Microsoft’s acquisition of FolderShare, and its consequent elevation in profile, will have many corporate IT mangers rushing to check their firewall logs, much as they did when Instant Messaging (IM) took off, as this is just the kind of collaborative technology we users like.

FolderShare has been around for a couple of years and was at one time a subscription-based service. Today, however, anyone can use FolderShare free-of-charge although how long this will remain the case is anybody’s guess.

FolderShare is to join the Windows Live stable of software products and services. By offering a set of personal Internet services and software designed to provide everything a user will need, together with more safety and security features, Microsoft expects Windows Live (along with Office Live) to surpass the equivalent products from Sun and Google. With Office Live set to debut early next year as part of the Microsoft Office ’12’ push, 2006 promises to be a very interesting year indeed!

Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)

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