The Liberty Alliance, a consortium aimed at promoting standardised tools for identity-based services, got a boost last week, when IBM, Oracle, Intel, Computer Associates, Orange and seven other firms joined its ranks.
The group's goal is to reduce the number of names and passwords users need to access web sites and intranets and complete e-commerce transactions.
At a convention in California, AOL, Nokia, Sun and Trustgenix demonstrated a business-to-consumer scenario using Liberty's specifications to enable a user to access a radio service on any device based on their identity, without user names and passwords.
Vodafone, Nokia and Trustgenix demonstrated a mobile-to-consumer scenario.
The Alliance has represented an alternative to Microsoft's Passport system since its inception in September 2001, and has recently begun to win wider support. Hewlett-Packard and Sun are already members.
Andy Kellet, senior research analyst at Butler Group, said: "[The new members] highlight a great divide among industry players, with Microsoft looking increasingly isolated. It is likely to go its own way for a while, but the consensus is that there will be a coming together eventually."
Michael Barrett, president of the Liberty Alliance management board, said: "Every wave of new members brings with it additional expertise and market insight that not only benefits members but also other companies seeking solutions to the security demands of identity management."
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