From The New York Times, by Saul Hansell

Microsoft is at work on a couple of new technologies that may finally help enterprises unravel the giant ball of yarn that is user identity management. The head of the company’s server and tools business, Bob Muglia, said Microsoft’s Azure technology, as well as a tool called Direct Access in Windows 7, will give enterprises the help they need to make sense of identity management.

As Saul Hansell writes in the Times’ Bits blog:

Mr. Muglia said that the Azure system, set to be introduced by the end of the year, will make similar services easy for corporations. This is a change for Microsoft, which originally planned to build its own system to validate the identity of all of the people using anything built with Azure and in the process create a gigantic directory of computer users.

“We thought there would be a central repository of identities that one company would own,” he said. “Now we realize that it is more likely that identity will be maintained by every organization somebody belongs to.”

Dozens of companies have swung and missed on identity management over the years, including Microsoft on more than one occasion. But there seems to be a neverending appetite in the enterprise for new ID management systems, and Microsoft’s muscle always helps move things along, so don’t count it out.

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