For the Sun and Microsoft alliance, there seems to always be something happening, but nothing going on. Last year, we speculated about all the wonderful gifts that the newfound Sun Microsystems and Microsoft friendship would bestow on us in terms of interoperability. Indeed, Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently met to proclaim that things were on track. However, Gartner analysts put things in perspective in a recent analysis and basically inform us that's there's little new to report, and the latest confab was a public relations event.
"Over a year has passed since Microsoft and Sun agreed to stop battling and work together for the common good. From a security perspective, this spirit of togetherness has led to a minor reduction in the effort needed to deploy authentication and authorization across mixed Solaris/Windows environments (such as the announcement that Sun systems will be 'Certified for Windows'). But Gartner has not seen major movement forward."
For example, the computing giants have yet to commit to a timeline for "true interoperability between the WS-Federation and Liberty Alliance specifications for federated identity management." Rather, momentum seems to be toward "awkward gateway approaches," rather than native adoption of standard, end-to-end protocols and identity token formats.
Standardization is important, and needed. But frankly, we're better off with fierce competition and contention. Too much nicey-nice stuff between big vendors would be scary.