Microsoft Windows Live Vs Apple iCloud

Name of the ServiceWindows Live/ZuneiCloud
Music Storage/StreamingZune Music/SkyDriveiTunes in the Cloud
Photos SyncSkyDrivePhotostream
Apps SyncAvailableAvailable
Books SyncNot AvailableAvailable
Documents SyncAvailableAvailable
Online BackupAvailable*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.

Image Credit

  • AnonGuy

    I agree it’s utter hillarity the way people are raving some of the iOS 5 additions, and Apple’s services.

    Calendar Sync, Push Email, Contacts Sync…  ActiveSync does all of this.

    iMessage is nice.  It takes a play out of RIM’s book and it is a further attempt at Apple to Lock people into their ecosystem (a good plat at that).

    The Twitter integration…  That’s been done already in Windows Mobile HTC Sense Devices, as well as Skinned Android devices (i.e. Samsung Social Hub).  I think Apple will be the only ones with push updates for it, though the Facebook Apps on Android have pretty much instant Push Notifications. I haven’t seen how it works in People Hub on WP7, though…

    Microsoft’s problem isn’t it’s services, though.  Everyone knows their services are good.  Zune Pass, Windows Live Mail/Calendar/Contacts, SkyDrive.  They’re all good.  They’re better than Google, IMO (though I wish they had developed a Native Client for their services like Google instead of depended on ActiveSync – just my opinion).

    The issue is stigma from Windows Mobile, feature drop-off from Windows Mobile, and the usability lag that Windows Phone 7 has RIGHT NOW compared to competing Smartphone OSes.  Really, as of now the HD7 I own is borderline unusable compared to an iPhone or Samsung Vibrant, and there are way too many apps missing due to lack of APIs.  Mango will change a lot of that, but with the iPhone 5/iOS 5 being released around the time Mango will be going out, I will think long as hard whether or not I want to waste more time messing around with WP7.  The way Microsoft updates the OS like a Desktop OS (i.e. Service Packs) simply isn’t cutting it for me.

    It’s not about being the best, it’s about sucking less than your competitors.

    Right now, Microsoft is simply sucking more than Apple and Google, and it’s impossible to even recommend a WP7 device right now because the system is designed in a way that provides too many showstoppers and roadblocks even to feature phone converts (i.e. you cannot send video in MMS or email, no good IM clients, the browser is bad – even if fast – compared to the HTML5 browsers on other platforms). Mango will change much of that, but competitors don’t stand still, as this week is showing us.

    • AnonGuy

      I have to wonder how much attention you have paid to what will be in Mango which will launch with a month or two of iOS5. Most of the features Apple just announced have been known to be in Mango for at least a week. Their twitter integration is on par with what Mango will offer for twitter, but that ignores the fact that Mango will have similar levels of integration with Facebook, Foursquare, and Live. So they are clapping themselves on the back for having ~25% of the functionality of Mango in that regard. Also, after socket support, multitasking, the already added copy/paste support, direct skydrive integration, combined inboxes, and more other new features than I can actually remember off of the top of my head, what feature gaps are you talking about? I actually am curious. I won’t be making a final decision on my next phone until my contract is up in December, but I can tell you that right now I would take a windows phone over my glitchy Droid in a heartbeat. I loved my Droid when I first got it but it works so terribly now that I want to literally smash it at least a few times a week.

    • Monkey D Black

       um, Calendar Sync, Push Email, Contacts Sync are all activeSync features that apple licensed.

      • Anonymous

        ka-ching for Microsoft

      • Anonymous

        They didn’t license these generic technologies – they licensed the ability to do them with Outlook specifically. They’ve been doing push email and OTA calendar/contact sync via Mobile Me for years.

        • Anonymous

          Actually, they used to sync on a timer (which everyone but apple calls pull rather than push) until they integrated activesync with Mobile Me.
          It’s just that most people believed Apples claims of having push sync, and still praised Apple when they announced the real thing the next year.

          • Anonymous

            Not true – Mobile Me has offered push from the Mobile Me email to their mobile devices for some time. Activesync is just about Outlook and Exchange.

          • Anonymous

            Actually rbgaynor, you are incorrect.  I’m an Apple User (Mac & iPhone) and I can say that MobileMe is not a true push platform.

            I spent an hour on with MobileMe support about 3 months ago on this exact issue.  MobileMe pushes NEW eMail to the iPhone.  It does NOT update state information with Push.  e.g., I get a new eMail, see it on my desktop, read it – the fact that it has been read is NOT pushed to the device.  Only new eMail is pushed, nothing else.  This fails the test as to what is push eMail (Calendar and Contacts or not really push either, as it can take up to 10 minutes for these to “push” between platforms).

            There is a reason that despite having an Apple architecture that I pay for a Zimbra account that licenses ActiveSync.

          • Anonymous

            I never said it was the best or even all that good (I in fact prefer IMAP because the handling of state info handling is very good). The point is that ActiveSync is a type of push service (actually a whole bunch of synchronization services that includes) that are Microsoft proprietary, but not all push services are ActiveSync. The big reason for licensing ActiveSync is to connect to Microsoft’s clients or servers (Apple uses it for desktop client access and Exchange server access).

          • Anonymous

            Not true – Mobile Me has offered push from the Mobile Me email to their mobile devices for some time. Activesync is just about Outlook and Exchange.

    • SD

      It continues to amaze me that so many people insist on
      regurgitating the same crap about MS and their “lack”, or how they are “so far behind”.
      I don’t recall ever hearing any of that babble about the undeniable lack the other 2 OS’s had and how long it took them to fix it.  Instead I heard the apple crowd continue the smug, brain-dead mantra of “oh… I don’t even need that so it’s not a feature.”  Most of you act as if the mobile device world officially started when apple finally put C&P in the iphone. 
      I don’t see MS as “behind” anything. They are about 10 years deep in this mobile device game. 

      • Guest

        “I don’t see MS as “behind” anything. They are about 10 years deep in this mobile device game.”

        Then maybe you should look at marketshare statistics. Or total revenue. Or total profit. Or market valuation.     

        • blinkdt

          I’d say Microsoft is ahead of all competitors in ALL significant segments, particularly Browser and OS. As for the “revenue/profit/valuation” cash side of the equation, well, Apple is a greedy little bitch and there’s one born every minute, isn’t there? Most of the vacuous appear to be bellying up to the Apple trough of late. Last time I checked, however, I found about 45,000 Microsoft employees scattered throughout 159 buildings in the greater Seattle area and MS was voted the best place to work in America, round about the same time they sold their 400 millionth copy of Windows 7 at a reasonable price of about $100 a copy. Me? Not hatin,’ just waiting for 8. I’m going to put in on my PC, then buy a Windows phone, then check into a slate device. I spend a lot of time at the local coffee shop, too, and I’m sure the mactoids will be glancing at my Samsung Series 9 and Samsung Focus S and Samsung Slate. When their Apple product dies, as all mechanical devices do, we’ll see what they do. If they are intelligent, they will opt for bang-for-buck and all things being equal that will be an ever-innovative MS “ecosystem,” a pleasureable, productive experience. That’s all I want, and that’s where all this is heading

      • Anonymous

        Nothing about a brain-dead mantra from me.  I have used the iPhone since the original and I have Jailbroken since it was available and had all the features that I wanted, with some notable exceptions that Apple was too stuck-up to put out there as “we screwed up and we’ll get that out soon.”

        However, nearly 70% of the Mango updates are features that already exist in iOS, Android & WebOS.  To me that says that MS is behind the curve on adopting features that have been in the wild for a long time.

        Also, as for Facebook & Foursquare (there is no reason that Apple would integrate with MS’s social product any more than they would google’s since they both produce competing phone OSes), I’m glad there is little to no integration.  Time after time Facebook has failed at protecting the privacy of their users.  I would hope that whomever I choose to use as a cell phone would take my privacy much more seriously than facebook.  There’s a reason that I deleted my facebook account.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s see what they announce with Mesh, if anything…

  • Michael Sanchez

    Cheaters beware – Apple will sync things between devices.  Your girl wont like that picture of you with a hottie at the club when it pops up on your iPad at home since it has no multi-user support.  Just saying….

    • Pacific

      You better have a good poker face if  you are planning to cheat.

    • Guest

      She probably won’t be too happy when the porn stash on your Mac ends up on the iPhone you lend her either.

  • alex d7777

    Mesh – 5GB with Skydrive and almost unlimited synchronization directly between different PCs…

  • CL-957

    “Microsoft doesn’t have Online backup service so far for its mobile devices.” I have been backing up my phone to Microsofts myphone service for years. Saved me everytime I drop my phone. It restores all my content, texts, picutres, etc…

  • Andrej

    Mango this… Mango that… if the Mango update goes as well as the Nodo update, we will have it maybe this year, but, knowing Microsoft, most probably in March or April 2012 !!!
    On the other side, knowing Apple, iOS5 will be here looooong before Mango !!!

    • WixosTrix

      Knowing Microsoft? You have to give them credit. They finished NoDo only a week after they said it would be done.  The carrier testing is what dragged it, but that was really only brought on by updates failing on Samsung devices, which was Samsungs fault for they were shipping devices configured it a state that Microsoft didn’t know about.  They don’t want this to happen again, so I’m sure they are prepared and the Mango update will go pretty smooth for the majority.  You always have to leave a little contingency.

    • Njoi Fontes

      I will bet my left nut that mango will go much better then nodo did. IOS 5 on the other hand can come as early as it may, it won’t matter since its pretty much just copying (badly) stuff from microsoft and google

  • Anonymous

    “Microsoft doesn’t have Online backup service so far for its mobile devices.”

    Actually, in Live Devices for WP7 and MyPhone for WP 6.x, most of the stuff that’s backed up by the iCloud already is being done by Microsoft. As for the Apps, the Zune client remembers what you’ve got and puts it back if you want. Hopefully the Xbox live game saves in the cloud they just announced extends to WP7 as well but suffice to say I’ve gone through 4 Windows Phones and a couple of computers since they started with cloud storage for phones and haven’t lost a thing since.

    • Dhaoracle

      Yes you beat me to the punch because it is funny how they are trying to make it seem once again that Apple has invented something better even when they have hilariously copied from others. 

      Myphone is also on most of the Windows Phones so what are they talking about. They have even backing up settings, texts, and pics since forever. 

      • Rob Holden

        myphone isn’t supported in WP7… 
        and Windows live for WP7 doesn’t back up text messages nor settings…

  • Avatar Roku

    Windows Live = Cloud Computing & Syncing
    iCloud = Cloud Syncing

    Big difference.

  • Mattsullivan2011

    >>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.

    WP7 can do this automatically as well. There is a setting called: Auto upload to SkyDrive for pictures + camera

  • Necro

    Windows Live Mesh have 5GB of cloud storage to sync data and not 2GB.

    • Anonymous

      Its 2GB now.  You’re thinking of the mesh.  It was killed off end of March:(  (unless they raised the new mesh up to 5 and I wasn’t aware)

      • Anonymous

        I’ve currently got 4.84 GB free of 5.00 GB… Definitely more than 2GB.

  • Anonymous

    SkyDrive is based on unique and innovative technology. In stark
    contrast to other online storage services. SkyDrive can take advantage
    of idle resources and store files on your network redundant points of

  • James Williams

    Wow, there are some bitter Windows users on here! I suppose I should be happy that Windows and Mac enthusiast (cult followers) act like they do.  Otherwise there may not be as much innovation. Complain and blame away! By the way, I enjoyed reading this article. Thank you. 

  • Chris Lindloff

    Hotmail/Live is gimped on Mac. You can only get POP3 email from both the mail app and Outlook 2011. I bet Microsoft does this on purpose when it comes to Outlook 2011.

    There is no syncing with iCal or Address book with hotmail/live

    There is no photo syncing with iPhoto either.

    With the icloud app on Widnows 7 you can sync photos (My Photos folder) and there is a plugin for Outlook to sync mail/cal/contacts.

    So the icloud solution is more cross platform than the Microsoft solution.