Microsoft pushes smart card vision
Microsoft Corp. last week outlined plans to spur Windows-based development
of smart cards and released an update to Windows for Smart Cards that includes
a standard popular in Europe and Asia.
As proof that the technology is catching on, company officials pointed
to the General Services Administration's recent 10-year, $1.5 billion contract
to deploy cards with Microsoft partners KPMG Consulting LLC, Litton/PRC
Inc., Electronic Data Systems Corp., 3-G International Inc. and Logicon
The most popular wireless standard in the United States is Code Division
Multiple Access (CDMA). However, the Windows update includes the Global
Systems for Mobile Communications (GSM) standard, the key feature of which
is the Subscriber Identification Model (SIM) card, which lets users be identified
by any GSM phone.
The Windows for Smart Cards Toolkit 1.1 includes SIM Explorer and SIM
Outlook, which Microsoft president and CEO Steve Ballmer called the first
"killer app" for GSM phones.
Smart cards have not taken off in the United States, compared with Europe
"Cards, until very recently, did not have the ability to be programmed,"
Microsoft product manager Mike Dusche said. "They have to be very small — 5 millimeters by 5 millimeters
for the chip — and that chip didn't allow for writing programs."
Dusche pointed to the smart cards issued to Microsoft employees for
network and security access. Used for functions such as paying for cafeteria
food and building access, the cards sport 64K of memory and an 8-bit microprocessor,
roughly the same as the first generation of PCs, Dusche said.
Copyright 2000, InfoWorld. Distributed by IDG News Service.