Recent proclamations by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer that the company
would move toward interoperability and support for standards is putting
pressure on the head of the company's directory and identity development
to reconsider support for industry standards such as Security Assertion
Markup Language (SAML) that have been long ignored. Joe Long, general
manager of the connected identity and directory at Microsoft, said
during a panel discussion at NetPro's Directory Experts Conference that
Microsoft was being forced to re-examine if it would support SAML, the
Service Provisioning Markup Language (SPML) and the Extensible Access
Control Markup Language (XACML). Microsoft already supports the SAML
1.1 token format but does not support the SAML request/response engine
that it is part of the specification. It also does not support SAML 2.0.
The Liberty Alliance and the Shibboleth identity project support SAML.
Microsoft supports WS-Federation, a specification it created with IBM
and sent to OASIS. WS-Federation unlike SAML splits the request/response
engine and the token format allowing it to support many token formats.
Long's comments came a day before Microsoft's Stuart Kwan took the DEC
keynote stage and explained that standards were a key cog in building
an "identity bus" for identity systems that applications could plug into.