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Monday, December 10 12:01 AM EST

Microsoft Dumps Passport for Liberty Alliance, Sun Adopts Passport

By Brian Briggs

Redmond, WA - Microsoft announced today that it was giving up its effort to control online authentication standards and would join the multi-lateral Liberty Alliance which has gained support from a variety of companies including American Express and AOL Time Warner. Shortly after the announcement Sun Microsystems announced that it was leaving the Liberty Alliance to support the much touted Passport services that Microsoft had developed.

"This abandonment of Passport demonstrates a real lack of commitment on Microsoft's part. We always knew Passport was superior, but just couldn't get Microsoft to see that," said Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun, "We suspect Microsoft will block our attempts to further develop Passport, the service that it so prematurely scuttled. This blockage is another example of its lack of cooperation and community spirit."

McNealy also announced that Passport would be renamed "jeli" and that it was originally developed by Bill Joy.

"While Passport allows us to extend our monopoly even further, we decided that authentication services are much too important to be trusted to just one company. We have joined the Liberty Alliance in a show of support for the community effort that we will eventually corrupt and exploit for our own gain," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Consumers have been clamoring for an online authentication and identification service to hold all their personal and financial information in one easy to access place. A recent survey of Internet users who haven't had their credit card information stolen in the past 6 months states that almost 3% would like a single authentication standard.

Credit card thieves have also supported the effort for a single standard. "Without a unifying standard or a central repository of data we must continually develop new methods to purloin this information. We put our full support behind any standard Microsoft develops," said CyberPhreak of the Crackers 4llianc3.

In a related announcement the Mozilla project announced that it would also be developing its own authentication standards called Mozdentify and forecasted version .989 would be ready in 2026.

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