Microsoft joins rivals in bid for united ID protocols

Microsoft will participate in a meeting later this month with vendors and organisations that are backing several different identity management systems.

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Microsoft will participate in a meeting later this month with vendors and organisations that are backing several different identity management systems.

The move is an indication that cooperation between the software giant and its peers is improving in an area of increasing importance

The meeting, part of an initiative called the Concordia Project, strives to improve interoperability between Microsoft's CardSpace and OpenID, two identity management systems, and protocols for identity management supported by an industry trade group, the Liberty Alliance, said Roger Sullivan, president of its management board.

Vendors will hear from companies such as General Motors, Boeing and AOL about how they're trying to integrate various identity management systems into their operations, Sullivan said.

"Many of these protocols today are very geek-centric," said Sullivan, who is also vice president of Oracle's identity management section. "They're not very people-friendly."

A major issue is how vendors can use different authentication mechanisms in their operations. For example, a financial planning website could allow users to forecast how much their retirement fund may be worth in 30 years. Eventually, the user may want to buy a service from the financial planner and migrate that same data to an environment that uses stronger authentication, Sullivan said.

This means there would need to be more interoperability between the protocols used by OpenID, CardSpace and Liberty enabled applications.

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