Microsoft will deploy Axalto's .NET smartcard, which includes the cryptography and authentication components of the .NET framework on the chip to proviide single sign-on, identity management and encryption to end users
The card also includes the bare bones of a reader scaled down within its chip, so that only a USB connector is required rather than a fully-fledged smartcard reader, said Olivier Piou, CEO at Axalto.
Microsoft will be the first commercial deployment of the technology, said chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates, speaking at the Microsoft IT Forum in Copenhagen, Denmark. Microsoft is rolling the Axalto smartcard out to its tens of thousands of users for combined physical and PC access controls, and the company plans to require business partners to use smartcards for access as well. "In time we will no longer have passwords at all," Gates said.