Microsoft Announces Smart Cards for Windows

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 27, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today announced a standards-based platform that provides secure storage for security, loyalty and ePurse solutions in the Microsoft® Windows® operating system. Smart Cards for Windows is focused on delivering benefits of Windows-based development and run-time environments to the smart card industry. Microsoft was joined at the announcement at the Cartes ’98 conference in Paris by several key companies, including Schlumberger Electronic Transactions and Gemplus Associates International, and pilot customers, including Merrill Lynch Company Inc. and Cable & Wireless. A beta version is scheduled to be available in January 1999.

This addition to the Windows family extends the benefits of the PC software development model, including a common run-time environment, a language-neutral development environment and familiar tools such as the Microsoft Visual Basic® and Microsoft Visual C++® development systems, to smart card developers. This will enable card issuers and designers to employ their existing expertise in Windows to develop and deploy a broader range of smart card usage and applications than with smart card systems.

“In addition, the release of development tools to accompany Smart Cards for Windows makes it easier for card issuers to design, create and deploy smart card solutions,”
said Duncan Brown, senior consultant with independent analysts Ovum and a worldwide authority on smart card markets.

“Smart Cards for Windows uniquely offers the greatest choice of tools, a common run-time environment and the strongest possible security,”
said Craig Mundie, senior vice president of the consumer platforms division at Microsoft.
“With the low-cost Smart Cards for Windows, we hope to support a broad array of solutions to provide secure access to online resources as part of an end-to-end solution. We have a business model that provides value-added opportunities for our vendors, and we feel we have an opportunity to help expand the smart card market on an international basis.”

Typical solutions enabled via these smart cards, such as secure network authentication, secure corporate transactions (such as online banking, and debit and credit), electronic cash and customer loyalty programs, will take advantage of these features:

  • Multipartition file system. Physically separates data files so that multiple applications can safely run on a single card.

  • Access Control Rules. Tightly controls who has access to all the files on the card, as well as files off the card.

  • Pluggable cyptographic algorithms. Allows developers and customers to specify and design their own levels of cryptographic support.

  • Support for existing smart card standards. Includes support for ISO 7816-4 commands.

“The projects we are announcing today are built on the long-standing cooperation between Schlumberger and Microsoft on the development and standardization of card interfaces,”
said Olivier Piou, vice president and general manager of smart cards for Schlumberger.
“We are delighted to work with Microsoft on two important pilot projects, at Merrill Lynch for secure Web access, and at Cable & Wireless to optimize security for tomorrow’s IT environment. The groundwork laid by Microsoft and Schlumberger provides a direct and easy evolution path for our Cryptoflex customers and an effective medium for moving forward with other smart-card-enabled Windows-based applications, such as loyalty and campus programs.”

“Gemplus strongly supports the Microsoft initiative,”
said Marc Lassus, chairman of Gemplus.
“We think this is a major step toward bringing smart cards into mainstream IT technology. Microsoft will bring unparalleled expertise in operating systems and development tools and will have the ability to seamlessly integrate smart cards into the Windows-based universe.”

“Microsoft’s release of Smart Cards for Windows advances the debate on platform standards for smart cards. Both Java Card and MultOS are severely threatened by this move,”
Brown said.

This announcement at Cartes ’98 is part of Microsoft’s ongoing strategy to enable smart card deployment. This strategy includes the PC Smart Card initiative, which facilitates network authentication on logon with the Windows NT® operating system 5.0, as well as logo and certification programs for manufacturers of smart card readers.

Product Availability

Smart Cards for Windows software is scheduled to be available on various leading processors in the first quarter of 1999.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Windows, Visual Basic, Visual C++ and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

For more information, press only:

Phil Missimore, Waggener Edstrom, (408) 986-1140, philm@wagged.com

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