Tonight Microsoft is launching a "tech preview" version of its latest platform, Live Mesh. The new platform is all about connecting devices to the Internet via Windows software. From an end user standpoint, it will enable users to sync their data across multiple devices and share with others. As of now, in preview mode, Live Mesh only supports Windows PCs - but Microsoft told us in a briefing earlier today that it will support the Mac and mobile phones by the end of this year. Live Mesh will also launch as an open beta later this year. In the future, Live Mesh will cover "a wide range of devices" such as game consoles, set-top boxes, auto PCs, and more. Josh Catone has a post with more details about Live Mesh. Accompanying the launch of Live Mesh is a new memo from Microsoft Chief Software Architect, Ray Ozzie.

It's a kind of sequel to his memo "The Internet Services Disruption" from October 2005, in which Ozzie first laid out Microsoft's software-as-a-service strategy. The new memo, entitled simply "Services Strategy", outlines to Microsoft staff the strategy behind Live Mesh. We can't reveal the whole memo tonight, but we can post a couple of key extracts.

The first key point is that Microsoft sees the Web as "the Hub of our social mesh and our device mesh." Ozzie calls this "social mesh" and writes that "in scenarios ranging from productivity to media and entertainment, social mesh notions of linking, sharing, ranking and tagging will become as familiar as File, Edit and View."

On the face of it, this is an acknowledgement from Ray Ozzie that the Web is at the center of software as a service. However, we all know that Windows is really at the center of Microsoft's strategy. This isn't explicitly stated in Ozzie's memo, but he does explain how the Web and the PC are intimately connected in this new world:

"To individuals, the concept of “My Computer” will give way to the concept of a personal mesh of devices – a means by which all of your devices are brought together, managed through the web, as a seamless whole. After identifying a device as being “yours”, its configuration and personalization settings, its applications and their own settings, and the data it carries will be seamlessly available and synchronized across your mesh of devices. Whether for media, control or access, scenarios ranging from productivity to media and entertainment will be unified and enhanced by the concept of a device mesh."

Ultimately Live Mesh is a product that enables Microsoft to bring their Windows software paradigm fully into the Web age via the concept of the "mesh". This extract, about connected devices, explains:

"We aspire to bring together Windows, Windows Live, and Windows Mobile by creating seamless experiences that span these offerings. Windows Live, for example, enables seamless communications and media experiences across Windows, Windows Mobile, and the Web. Live Mesh, a new services platform technology that will also become part of Windows Live, further extends the Windows / Windows Mobile / Windows Live experience by bringing your devices together to work in concert with one another using the web as a hub [...]"

The full memo will be made public tomorrow morning, after Microsoft staff have seen it. We will publish the memo in its entirely tomorrow on ReadWriteWeb.

UPDATE: here is the full text of Ray Ozzie's memo