Microsoft Windows Live Vs Apple iCloud

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Name of the Service Windows Live/Zune iCloud
Music Storage/Streaming Zune Music/SkyDrive iTunes in the Cloud
Photos Sync SkyDrive Photostream
Apps Sync Available Available
Books Sync Not Available Available
Documents Sync Available Available
Online Backup Available* Available
Mail Available Available
Contacts Available Available
Calendar Available Available

Apple announced its internet services brand iCloud yesterday at its WWDC. Many Apple folks thought iCloud as Apple’s innovative product, to put that thoughts aside, here is my comparison of Apple’s iCloud with Microsoft’s Windows Live. One can extend this to Google’s services in Android as well. Take a look at the table above,

1)Music Storage/Streaming:

iTunes in the Cloud: With iCloud, the music you purchase in iTunes appears automatically on all your devices. You can also download your past iTunes purchases.

Zune/SkyDrive: Zune allows you to listen to millions of music if you have Zune pass subscription, otherwise you can download songs you purchased on about 3 devices. SkyDrive with 25GB storage allows you to store music on your personal drive on cloud. However, you can’t access it as a regular local music in Windows Phone, instead you can find them in documents folder.

Both the services have advantages and disadvantages. iCloud wins in automatic music downloads whereas Zune on Music streaming.

2) Photos Sync:

iCloud: When you take a photo on one device, it automatically appears on all your other devices. No syncing. No sending. Your photos are just there. Everywhere you want them.

SkyDrive: Windows Phone has built in ability to automatically upload photos on the phone to SkyDrive. Photos on SkyDrive can be downloaded to Photo Gallery on Windows with single click.

Again both the services have advantages and disadvantages. While iCloud have advantage over automation of the process, SkyDrive wins over web access and Storage capabilities.

3) Apps Sync:

iCloud: The apps you’ve already purchased from App Store, you can download them again — at no additional charge — to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. And when you purchase new apps, you can have iCloud automatically push them to all your devices.*

Zune Marketplace:

Again, Zune offers similar functionality allowing you to download the apps you purchased on one device in another.

iCloud has slight advantage over Zune here, since it offers automatic downloads.

4) Books Sync:

iCloud: Just like with apps, you can download these books again to any of your devices. Buy a new book, and it appears everywhere.

Microsoft don’t have Book Store as Apple, instead they rely on 3rd party Apps like Amazon Kindle with WhisperSync which has similar or more capabilities than iBooks.

Clear Advantage for iCloud here.

5) Documents Sync:

iCloud: Documents you’ve written, presentations you’ve prepared, spreadsheets you’ve made — your iWork apps can store them in iCloud. Which means you can view and edit the same document, in its latest state, on all your devices. And since iCloud automatically updates any changes you make, you don’t even have to remember to save your work.

SkyDrive/Office Web Apps:

SkyDrive again allows you to store upto 25GB of documents with native Windows Phone and Web Access. You can edit documents on Windows Phone and Web browser for free.

Microsoft has clear advantage over documents sync because of its cross platforms capabilities and Office compatibility.

6) Online Backup:

iCloud: Backup your Purchased music, apps, and books Photos and video in the Camera Roll ,Device settings, App data, Home screen and app organization, Text and MMS messages, Ringtones.

Microsoft doesn’t have Online backup service so far for its mobile devices. iCloud is a clear winner in this case but i highly doubt the use case of this feature since how much time will it take to backup my 32GB content and again restore it at any moment.

7) Mail:

iCloud: When you set up iCloud, you get a free email account. iCloud automatically pushes new email messages to all your devices, so your inbox is up to date everywhere you check it. And iCloud keeps all your folders in sync, no matter which device you’re using.

Hotmail: More than 300 million users are using it already, with Windows Live ID you get a whole email service for free on all your devices with push capabilities.

Advantage: Microsoft for its cross platform, feature rich, trusted services.

8) Calendar:

iCloud: Update your schedule in one place and see your changes everywhere. When you have multiple devices, iCloud updates them with your most recent appointments — saving you time for all the other things you have going on. You can also share calendars with other iCloud users.

Windows Live Calendar:

Again used by millions of users, Windows Live Calendar is available cross platform with more features and integration in Windows Phone and other clients.

Advantage: Microsoft for its cross platform, feature rich, trusted services.

9) Contacts:

iCloud: With iCloud, your entire address book is on whichever device you’re using, anytime you need it. Say you add someone to Contacts on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. iCloud automatically sends the new contact to Address Book on your Mac or to Outlook on your PC.

Windows Live Contacts:

Again used by millions of users, Windows Live Contacts is available cross platform with more features and integration in Windows Phone and other clients.

Advantage: Microsoft for its cross platform, feature rich, trusted services.

Apart from this details, I want to let you know that all of the Apple’s iCloud details are subject to change since its a unreleased product. But when it comes to Microsoft, over 500 million Windows Live users using their services already. Microsoft is working on next version of its Windows Live services called Windows Live Wave 5 which will come by the time iCloud gets released to users. Microsoft so far have not announced its plans regarding Windows Phone Online backup, but its highly anticipated soon given their credible work on KIN studio and Myphone service for Windows Mobile.

I just want to remind people like Robert Scoble, Gartenberg that they are living in Apple’s Reality Distortion field. BTW, Do you know Apple WWDC crowd cheered for calendar sync across devices. We are living in 2011 man ! ! !

Update 1: I forgot to mention Windows Live Mesh, a service which synchronizes settings of apps like Internet Explorer, Office,etc, bookmarks and files across multiple PC’s with 2 GB cloud storage.

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More about the topics: apple, icloud, microsoft, windowslive