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InternetNews.com: Battle Brews Over Authentication

Sep 26, 2001, 21:32 (11 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Thor Olavsrud)
"Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ:SUNW) and 32 well-known, industry-leading companies raised their standard Wednesday in what is rapidly shaping up to be the Internet's newest battle ground: authentication systems.

The most noted industry leader that was excluded from the new consortium, though, was Microsoft Corp., (NASDAQ:MSFT) which last week fired the first salvo when it put out a call for a "federated" authentication system -- one in which competitors are allowed to license Microsoft's Passport system for their own use.

The strategic importance of authentication systems has evolved alongside an increasing focus on Web services, a model which Burton Group analyst Gary Hein calls "the latest -- and most credible -- effort to define a workable distributed computing framework for the Internet, one that supports inter-enterprise communication and interoperability among applications."

Microsoft, according to Burton, is "betting the company" on the importance of that model with its .NET initiative. But Microsoft is not the only one to recognize the import of the model, and unwilling to let Microsoft make its authentication system become the defacto standard that makes Web services feasible, Sun and its compatriots Wednesday formed the Liberty Alliance Project to develop and deploy an open solution."

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