Microsoft is getting ready to provide an early peek at new Windows
software that aims to help consumers deal with the plethora of Internet
The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant plans to release a technical
preview of the software, code-named InfoCard, by the end of May,
Microsoft said. It will also include other technologies designed to
make using digital identities easier and safer, Microsoft's senior
executive in charge of security, Mike Nash, said Tuesday.
The release is for software developers, who will be asked to give
Microsoft feedback on the technology, Nash said during his monthly
security Webcast. In addition to InfoCard, Microsoft is also planning
preview releases of technologies that it is pitching to enable the
various identity systems used on the Internet to work together, he
"One of the big challenges that people face today is that there are
many different kinds of identity systems," said John Shewchuk, an
architect in Microsoft's distributed systems group, who was also on the
InfoCard will be the most visible of Microsoft's efforts to PC users.
It is designed to provide secure storage for identity information that
will be shared with online services such as Web stores.
The plans are reminiscent of Microsoft's largely failed efforts with
Passport, a single sign-on service it unveiled in 1999. InfoCard is a
new attempt, one that could solve the complaint many people had with
Passport, which was that people's information was managed by Microsoft
instead of by the users themselves and the businesses they dealt with.
The developer preview is important as Microsoft moves from just talk to actually sharing some of the work in progress.
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