VeriSign to Provide Authentication Services for MS’ .NET

Microsoft Corp. and VeriSign Inc. Tuesday reinforced their existing
alliance, this time focusing on driving the acceptance of Microsoft’s
XML-based .NET offerings for delivering applications over the Internet.

Under the alliance, VeriSign will provide authentication and security
technologies support for future .NET offerings, integrate .NET
technologies — like HailStorm, the HailStorm notification technology and
Passport single sign-on and authentication system — with its Internet-based
trust services, and deploy Microsoft Windows 2000 Server for its
Registrar-hosted Domain Names and Web sites.

Because .NET is intended to bring most applications and documents away from
the desktop and onto the Internet, security and guaranteed availability for
the offerings is essential. Indeed, in January, following the high-profile
Denial of Service attacks that plagued the Microsoft network for nearly a
week, some analysts said the .NET initiative was dead.

“It’s destroyed,” Rob Enderle, an analyst with Giga Information Group, said
at the time. “While they’re running a big campaign talking about the
reliability of MS products is not the time to have major outages at the
site, particularly for sites as visible as Microsoft. (The outages) pretty
much destroyed their advertising campaign, and any value they might have
achieved from that campaign is pretty much gone.

“In fact, there’s even a risk that the campaign will become an industry
joke,” Enderle said

Microsoft, for the most part, managed to dodge that prediction, and has
steamed ahead with development of its .NET offerings. But likely the lesson
of that week remains, and although VeriSign failed the company at least
once — in March it mistakenly issued two digital certificates in Microsoft’s name to a person posing as a
Microsoft employee — VeriSign is still the most recognized and
widely-accepted verification service on the Net.

“This alliance is great news for customers because it combines Microsoft’s
expertise and pioneering work in the new world of XML Web Services with the
experience and leadership of VeriSign in delivering Internet-based trust
services,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “We are
excited to be taking our relationship with VeriSign to a new level as well
as being able to enhance the security of the services we deliver to users.”

The integration of HailStorm will allow VeriSign’s server digital
certificates to verify applications that use HailStorm services and help the
company manage relationships with the developers of those applications. The
companies also plan to work together to integrate VeriSign’s Personal Trust
Agent technology with Microsoft’s Passport authentication, single sign-on
and secure messaging capabilities.

“VeriSign and Microsoft are working together to make the foundation for
Web-based services including online transactions more secure,” said Stratton
Sclavos, president and chief executive officer of VeriSign. “Customers will
see the benefits of our joint efforts through a set of new services that
facilitate secure storage and access of consumer and business information,
online collaboration and workflow management and e-commerce transaction

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