Yesterday it was announced that Microsoft, along with other leading technology companies, had joined the board of the OpenID foundation:
The OpenID Foundation today announced that Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), IBM (NYSE: IBM), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), VeriSign (NASDAQ: VRSN) and Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) have joined as its first corporate board members.
With these companies’ deep expertise in Internet and security technology, the OpenID Foundation strengthens the industry-wide effort to empower users with portable Web identities, or OpenIDs. This effort helps ensure the evolution of an open and interoperable Internet that helps people take control of how their personal information is shared on-line and aids on-line businesses to attract and retain more users by simplifying and securing the management of digital identities.
The OpenID Foundation was formed in June 2007 to support and promote the technology developed by the OpenID community.
A universal identification mechanism would cure a number of current Internet ills, but it will require more than board membership by some big name Internet companies to make it a reality. Only when OpenID authorization becomes a widely available option will there be an incentive for the average user to sign up. Until then it’s just another userid of which to keep track.