Microsoft acquires Credentica’s U-prove technology

Microsoft acquires Credentica’s U-prove technology

I am thrilled to announce that Microsoft has acquired Credentica’s U-Prove™ technology, together with all of the underlying patents. Microsoft plans to integrate the technology into Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Cardspace. Check out the blogs of Kim Cameron and Microsoft’s Corporate Privacy Group for more information.

In addition, I and my stellar colleagues Greg Thompson and Christian Paquin have joined Microsoft’s Identity and Access Group. We will be working very closely with Kim Cameron and many other Microsoft experts to bring the technology to market.

I cannot begin to express how incredibly excited I am about this milestone. It marks not only the end of an entrepreneurial journey of fifteen years, but also the start of a tremendously exciting new phase that I have been working towards for a long time. To expound, from the early nineties on the technology has always enjoyed considerable interest from leading industry players, first for electronic cash purposes and later for digital identity and access control purposes. Throughout these years I ignored acquisition offers, primarily out of concern that the technology would end up in the dustbin. There were good reasons to believe this would be a likely outcome: user-centric identity was not on anyone’s business agenda, multi-party security was deemed overkill even for military applications, and privacy-by-design was merely an academic pursuit. And so I decided to enter into business arrangements with much smaller companies and investment units whose interests were strategically aligned with mine. I also ignored venture capital, in spite of strong interest from investors; the lack of a convincing business model would likely have forced shareholders down a painful path, along the lines of what happened at two of my former licensees.

This time around, things are different – very different. For starters, the market needs in identity and access management have evolved to a point where technologies for multi-party security and privacy can address real pains. Secondly, there is no industry player around that I believe in as much as Microsoft with regard to its commitment to build security and privacy into IT systems and applications. Add to that Microsoft’s strong presence in many of the target markets for identity and access management, its brain trust, and the fact that Microsoft can influence both the client and server side of applications like no industry player can, and it is easy to see why this is a perfect match.

Now that this acquisition has been completed, I will be blogging much more frequently again than I have in the past year. Among others, I look forward to sharing information on this blog about Microsoft’s plans for the technology as they unfold.

In the meantime, for those who are new to this blog and wonder what the acquisition is about, I recommend that you check out the educational materials on the Credentica web site, which we have turned into an information site. A good starting point is the flash demo.