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Microsoft teases 'SkyBox' mobile storage site

Reports say site pitching online service for Windows Mobile users was launched, then pulled

By Nancy Gohring
February 6, 2009 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - Microsoft Corp. today appears to have launched, and then pulled, a Web site pitching a cloud-based service that would let Windows Mobile users back up and access information online.

The site is no longer functioning. But a report on the Engadget consumer-electronics blog, and subsequent ones posted elsewhere, said that the service would enable users running Windows Mobile to back up and restore phone data on a password-protected Web site. They also could access their contact lists and calendars and share photos through a Web account, according to the reports.

Even though the Web address uses the SkyBox name, the page that was temporarily available called the service My Phone.

Rumors have surfaced recently that Microsoft might unveil such a service at the upcoming GSMA Mobile World Congress, which starts Feb. 16 in Barcelona. Those are in addition to reports that the company may introduce its own line of smartphones at the conference.

Microsoft is already beta-testing a service that sounds similar to SkyBox: Live Mesh, which lets users upload photos and other information to a Web page and access the data from a mobile phone. Both services are potential competitors to Apple Inc.'s MobileMe offering, which had a rocky start after its debut last July.

One apparent difference between Live Mesh and SkyBox is that the latter service will automatically synchronize appointments, photos, videos, text messages, and calendar and contact information. In addition, while anyone with a phone and a browser can use Live Mesh, SkyBox appears to be limited to people using phones with Windows Mobile 6.

A spokesman from Microsoft's public relations firm said today that he didn't yet have any comments to pass along about the appearance and disappearance of the SkyBox site.

Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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