RealTime IT News

IBM Plucks Single Sign-On Deal With Orange

In one of the largest identity management software contracts to date, IBM agreed to provide single sign-on Web services and other software to mobile communications entity Orange.

Orange will use IBM's Tivoli Access Manager, WebSphere Portal and WebSphere Everyplace Access to let its 50 million mobile phone customers securely access mobile services, including games, online banking and e-mail, after signing in just once.

Financial terms of the agreement between IBM and Orange, a subsidiary of Paris telco France Telecom, were not disclosed.

Because the combination of IBM products will ideally provide a robust Web services platform, Orange could provide a higher quality service for its customers, the companies said in a statement.

For example, Orange's subsidiaries and third-party content providers, such as online banks, could access the Orange network and quickly pipe services to customers with little hassle.

Moreover, Orange sister companies within France Telecom and third-party content providers will not have to spend money to create individual identity accounts for each Orange customer.

The secure sign-on element of the agreement is derived from Tivoli Access Manager, which complies with Liberty 1.1 Web Services specifications for single sign-on, allowing identity data to communicate over networks with mixed gear. IBM shored up that interoperability last month.

The agreement is one of the largest federated identity management deals to date and comes during a week when several software makers are revising or trotting out new ID management platforms. Oracle , Novell and others unveiled new products Wednesday at the Burton Group Catalyst Conference 2004 in San Diego, Calif.

As it is in the IBM/Orange contract, the Liberty Alliance seems to be at the center of the buzz. Earlier this week, Oracle and Intel joined as sponsor members, giving the consortium two more large weapons in its battle to beat Microsoft's Passport product in the secure single sign-on services game.

All of this means ID management software is gaining momentum, driven by customer demand, according to analysts. The Radicati Group estimated that the identity management software market will soar from $738 million worldwide this year to $10.2 billion by 2008. Last year, the research firm pegged the 2003 market size at $551 million, growing to $5 billion by 2007.

"As we offer more services to our large customer base, customers demand the ease of having single sign-on across their mobile and ISP services," said France Telecom Vice President of Technologies Jean-Paul Maury.

In other ID management news, Vintela, which makes software that integrates with Microsoft's authentication and identity management platform, purchased single sign-on software company Wedgetail Communications for an undisclosed sum.

Vintela will absorb Wedgetail's Kerberos-based single sign-on capability for J2EE environments using Microsoft Active Directory as the identity store.

Vintela said in a statement that while its current VAS product allows the "trusted zone" normally associated with Windows platforms to be extended to Unix, it will able to extend this "trusted zone" further to encompass J2EE environments. The Wedgetail products will be re-launched under the Vintela brand as Vintela Single Sign-on for Java (VSJ).