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Microsoft Focuses on Interoperability for the Identity Metasystem


Microsoft Corp. today announced a series of offerings that foster improved interoperability for online identity management. Microsoft has been a leading industry voice in the creation of an identity metasystem, an ecosystem designed to enable the exchange of personal identity information on the Internet so all parties may understand whom they are working with online. Three core elements make up the identity metasystem: the people who are presenting their identity, the Web site or online service requesting proof of identity, and the identity providers who assert some information about those people. The projects announced today improve interoperability for each of the three identity metasystem components and represent the next step in Microsoft’s commitment to deliver interoperability by design.

“Our customers expect us to enable interoperability between Microsoft-based solutions, as well as across other platforms and technologies. For this reason, we take a very pragmatic, customer-centric view of interoperability,” said Bob Muglia, senior vice president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft. “Addressing the effective exchange of identity information is a perfect example of how we look at interoperability holistically in order to meet a critical customer need.”

Another Interop Specification Available Under Microsoft’s OSP

In September 2006 Microsoft announced the availability of 38 Web services specifications under the Open Specification Promise (OSP). A subset of those specifications, such as WS-Trust and WS-SecureConversation, addressed identity metasystem scenarios and have led to interoperable identity solutions such as Novell Inc.’s Bandit project and the Eclipse Foundation’s Higgins Trust Framework Project. Microsoft is now making the Identity Selector Interoperability Profile available under the OSP to enhance interoperability in the identity metasystem for client computers using any platform. An individual open source software developer or a commercial software developer can build its identity selector software and pay no licensing fees to Microsoft, nor will it need to worry about future patent concerns related to the covered specifications for that technology.

Microsoft Creates Four Open Source Projects to Help Make Web Sites Identity-Aware

Microsoft is starting four open source projects that will help Web developers support information cards, the primary mechanism for representing user identities in the identity metasystem. These projects will implement software for specifying the Web site’s security policy and accepting information cards in Java for Sun Java System Web Servers or Apache Tomcat or IBM’s WebSphere Application Server, Ruby on Rails, and PHP for the Apache Web server. An additional project will implement a C Library that may be used generically for any Web site or service. These implementations will complement the existing ability to support information cards on the Microsoft® Windows® platform using the Microsoft Visual Studio® development environment.

The projects will be hosted on the open source project sites and, and will be aggregated for ease of use for all developers to access at and

Microsoft Extends Identity Management in the Enterprise

Identity providers (e.g., insurance companies, government agencies, academic institutions, or any organization that holds identity information about people) typically have a rich set of identity information stored in directories or databases. Some Microsoft customers have asked for improved ability to synchronize identity information between Active Directory® and the OpenLDAP Directory utilizing Microsoft Identity Lifecycle Manager (ILM) 2007. In response, Microsoft announces its collaboration on an open source project with KERNEL Networks and Oxford Computer Group to provide an OpenLDAP adapter for Microsoft ILM 2007. The adapter will extend ILM 2007’s support for heterogeneous environments by enabling efficient two-way synchronization of identity information for OpenLDAP. This adds to ILM 2007’s already significant out-of-the-box connectivity to more than 30 directories, databases and other systems. The benefit to Microsoft customers is a more extensible and flexible identity management solution.

Interoperability by Design

In the past 12 months, Microsoft has announced more than 15 technical and business activities, each furthering its commitment to deliver interoperability by design. The company takes a holistic approach to interoperability that encompasses products; communities of customers, partners, and competitors; access to intellectual property; and the support of standards. Examples of Microsoft’s improvements to interoperability include the creation of an Open XML Translator for document format interoperability; collaboration with companies such as Novell and XenSource Inc. on virtualization of Linux and Windows; the creation of an Interoperability Vendor Alliance with more than 35 other companies; and a yearlong effort of working with the newly developed Interoperability Executive Customer Council. More information about Microsoft’s interoperability by design efforts can be found at

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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Community Support for Microsoft’s Interoperability Efforts in the Identity Metasystem

“The OSP continues to represent a significant step forward as the industry works to build more interoperable identity infrastructure. We’ve seen a number of advancements and collaborations in the last several months that are a direct result of the OSP process and expect this trend to continue.”

—Gerry Gebel
Vice President and Service Director
Burton Group

“Microsoft’s extension of its Open Specification Promise is a key milestone for the community developing software that interoperates with Windows CardSpace™. We appreciate all the effort that Microsoft has made and is making toward interoperability.”

—Paul Trevithick and Mary Ruddy
Co-Leads, Eclipse Higgins Project

Eclipse Foundation

“We are impressed with Microsoft’s continuing efforts to support Web site developers, using Java and other languages, in implementing information card support and making this technology available across multiple platforms.”

—Jens Fromm
Fraunhofer-Institute FOKUS

“I’m excited and encouraged to see that Microsoft is continuing to further the Open Specification Promise and include additional specifications in the information card area as this will go a long way to help ensure that open source communities can implement information card identity providers and relying parties.”

—Anthony Nadalin

Chief security architect,

Higgins Project member


“Microsoft’s efforts to broaden the use of OSP, particularly with the ISIP, have enabled greater interoperability across platforms.”

—Dale Olds

Bandit project leader,

Novell Distinguished Engineer

Novell Inc.

“ThoughtWorks is excited to be working with Microsoft on this open, cross-platform identity management initiative. In supporting open standards, Microsoft has opened the door for our customers to leverage Microsoft products with its current technology investments like Ruby and Java.”

—Roy Singham


ThoughtWorks Inc.


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