IBM staying neutral on Passport versus Liberty

With Microsoft and Sun at war over technologies for Web services and online identity, there is no need to choose between them, says IBM's e-business head

IBM is not going to choose between Sun and Microsoft's authentication technologies, says the company's e-business director. While the two companies wrangle, Big Blue's increasing alliances with Microsoft in the area of Web services are not a final decision, according to Bob Sutor, IBM's e-business director. "We're still neutral re: Passport and Liberty," Sutor told ZDNet UK. The Liberty Alliance is a group initially set up by Sun to encourage a standard method for computer users to identify themselves on the Internet, through passwords or authentication technology. Liberty, which has not yet chosen a specific technology, is a response to Microsoft's Passport, included with Windows XP. IBM supports Passport, but is currently not a member of Liberty. IBM and Microsoft are also members of the WS-I (Web Services Interoperability Organisation) formed in early February. This is not a standards organisation but a group that aims to "promote Web services interoperability across platforms, operating systems, and programming languages." Sun is not a member of this group as yet. Extolling the virtues of Web services, IBM's Sutor said, "We have to work with Microsoft, Oracle, Sun, etc. Web services are simply a good idea, but it is a lofty goal." The plan for the complete vision should be in place by the end of the year.


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