IBM Corp is providing software and services enabling federated single sign-in to web services by 50 million mobile phone customers of European carrier Orange SA.
The companies are today expected to announce IBM will provide Orange with software supporting single sign-in by phone users across different mobile web sites and services, such as instant messaging, gaming and online banking.
Ironically, IBM is providing services for Orange built on specifications for federated identity developed by the Liberty Alliance Project.
IBM has never been a member of Liberty since its creation in 2001, and has instead collaborated with Microsoft Corp on developing a series of rival WS- specifications providing a modular framework for secure, federated single sign-in.
IBM was unavailable for comment yesterday, but Orange owner France Telecom is a Liberty member.
It is unclear whether IBM is taking a pragmatic stance on a single large contract or recognizing the growing presence Liberty has among IT vendors and end users. During its relatively short lifetime, Liberty’s membership has swollen to nearly 160 organizations.
IBM last month announced its Tivoli Access Manager family would support Liberty 1.1, providing customers with increased choice. The Tivoli Access Manager family will be used with IBM’s WebSphere Portal and WebSphere Everyplace Access.
Liberty was founded by Sun Microsystems with handset manufacturer Nokia, carrier Vodafone and service provider America Online, with representation from customers auto giant General Motors and financial services provider American Express, among others.
A large part of Liberty’s appeal has been its work around existing security and sign-in specifications, and attempts to quantify relationships between different business partners and domains to help build the fabric for passing and sharing of individuals’ identities.
The rival WS- work has largely been cooked-up, during their initial stages at least, by industry participants led by IBM and Microsoft. IBM, though, has expressed a desire for convergence between both the specifications.