Under one project, the company is adding identity management software to its Open Specification Promise -- a program under which Microsoft has made a number of no fee, patent free software components available to developers.
The newly added component, Identity Selector Interoperability Profile, helps developers create so-called information cards that Internet users can use to securely share their identity and personal data on the Web.
Microsoft is also creating four open source projects with the aim of easing the way in which developers can add identity management and awareness features to Web sites. Developers will be able to use the software created under the projects to specify a site's security and information card acceptance policies, Microsoft said.
In another effort, Microsoft is teaming up with KERNEL Networks and Oxford Computer Group to create an open source OpenLDAP adapter for Microsoft Identity Lifecycle Manager. The aim is to simplify the process of synchronizing identity information between Active Directory and the OpenLDAP directory.
Directories are used to organize folders and files on computer networks. Microsoft said the security initiatives unveiled Wednesday are part of a broader effort to develop software that makes computers and applications from various manufacturers interoperable with each other.
The company recently released Open XML Translator to promote document format interoperability. It's also collaborating with Novell and XenSource to create technologies that allow virtualization across Linux and Windows environments.
Microsoft has frequently faced criticism for building products that lack compatibility with technologies made by rivals. For instance, its OpenXML document format, introduced with Office 2007, has been slammed by some companies -- IBM in particular -- as not being sufficiently interoperable with non-Microsoft products.
Microsoft claims OpenXML is fully compatible with a wide range of computing platforms, including Windows systems.