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IP: Microsoft Enters Smart Card Market

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Source:  New York Times

October 28, 1998

Microsoft Enters Smart Card Market


PARIS -- The Microsoft Corporation introduced a tiny
computer-operating system for smart cards Tuesday as well as
support for the system from 20 hardware makers.

Smart cards contain microchips that store personal or financial data,
allowing access while securing the information from unauthorized use.
They are already used widely in Europe in digital mobile phones,
pre-paid telephone cards and bank cards.

Microsoft is betting that smart cards will take off as the growing use of
hand-held computer devices and electronic commerce creates demand
for more secure ways of accessing computer networks. The company,
which is based in Redmond, Wash., is competing against Sun
Microsystems Inc. in the smart-card market, pitting its Windows system
against Sun's Java programming language.

"We brought back our work on smart cards a year-and-a-half ago when
we saw increasing demand for authentication of a user's identity to access
a network and an explosion in demand for on-line electronic commerce,"
said Craig Mundie, senior vice president for consumer platforms at

He presented the new product at the Cartes 98 Smart Card conference
in Paris. He said test versions of the product would be ready in the first
quarter of next year and the final product by mid-year.

The Windows operating system for smart cards will have memory
capacity of 4.5 kilobytes, compared with 300 kilobytes for Windows
CE, which is used in hand-held computers.

Windows cards will cost issuers about $3 each, compared with $20 for
Java-based cards.

Sun officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The worldwide market for chip cards will jump nearly fivefold, to $6.8
billion, in 2002, from $1.4 billion in 1997, according to Dataquest Inc., a
unit of Gartner Group Inc.
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Robert A. Hettinga <mailto: [email protected]>
Philodox Financial Technology Evangelism <http://www.philodox.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'