Microsoft, Verisign and Partners to Collaborate with OpenID

OpenID is an open, decentralised, free framework for user-centric digital identity. The goal is to release every part of this work under the most liberal licences possible, so there’s no money or licensing or registering required to play. It benefits the community as a whole if something like this exists, and we’re all a part of the community.

Microsoft and VeriSign, along with other partners, have announced that they “will collaborate on interoperability between OpenID and Windows CardSpace(TM) to make the Internet safer and easier to use. “

What interests me in this announcement is the word “collaborate”. I can almost hear the MS sceptics groaning, but is this announcement different?

OpenID was originally specified without any specific authentication method in mind. Brad Fitzpatrick, the original creator of OpenID, said, “Now people ask me what I think about Microsoft supporting it, using their InfoCards as the method of authentication…. I think it’s great! So far I’ve seen Kerberos integration for OpenID, voiceprint biometric auth (call a number and read some words), Jabber JID-Ping auth, etc…. all have different trade-offs between convenience and security. But as more people have CardSpace on their machines, users should get both convenience and security.”

CardSpace is claimed to provide significant anti-phishing, privacy, and convenience benefits to users. Scott Kveton, CEO of JanRain (another of the partners in this agreement), says, “Windows CardSpace is shipping with Vista today and is a well thought-out technology that helps address many of the privacy and security concerns that people have had with OpenID. OpenID helps users describe their identity across many sites in a public fashion. The two together are very complimentary products and each has its strength.”

This looks like a true collaboration between the OpenID community, Microsoft and others. From what I have seen All parties are happy with the deal and there appears to be no evidence of one “side” having to compromise. A true victory for open development? I think so, only time will tell us for certain.