Apple introduced MobileMe back in 2008 as an enhanced version of its .Mac program. The revamped online service brought features familiar to enterprise environments to consumers, including the ability to remotely wipe a lost or stolen device; remote location, messaging and alarms for finding a misplaced device; sync and push messaging features including mail, calendar and contacts; and a Gallery service for uploading and sharing pictures and videos.
In the two years since, Microsoft announced its own SkyBox service for Windows Mobile which was later renamed My Phone.
That offering, based on software Microsoft acquired from a Portuguese developer, is now being eclipsed by a new product named Windows Phone Live, aimed at Windows Phone 7, which is expected to ship at the end of this year.
Unlike MobileMe, Microsoft plans to offer its messaging sync, cloud storage, and location/wipe service for free, according to the official Windows Phone blog.
There has been some speculation that Apple would also begin offering a free tier of its MobileMe service. A free competing service may help push Apple in that direction, if Microsoft is more successful in launching Windows Phone 7 than it was with its KIN fiasco, a partnership with Verizon Wireless that was canceled just weeks after its ostentatious launch.
RIM is also getting into the consumer remote management business with its new BlackBerry Protect service. It similarly offers backups, remote wipe and location services (but not push messaging or cloud storage) and is expected to free as well. The service is currently in beta.
Google added partial support in Android for corporate Exchange Server remote management, wipe and sync features, but has not announced any plans to offer a package of remote find/wipe, push messaging, and cloud storage features aimed at consumers for free or as a paid service.