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Microsoft is working to integrate its various identity-management wares into a unified platform, upon which it will encourage third-party developers to build, according to partner sources.

It’s not clear whether Microsoft will use this week’s RSA conference in San Francisco to take the wraps off the new ID-management suite. Regardless, the company is moving full steam ahead to integrate a number of its existing Windows Server applications into such a platform, partners said.

One Microsoft partner, who requested anonymity, said Microsoft would likely bill the unified platform as the Microsoft “Trust Management Platform.” He said such a platform would incorporate Microsoft’s Windows Certificate Services and Windows RMS (Rights Management Services), among other products.

Read more here about Microsoft’s expected announcements at the RSA security show.

RMS is Microsoft’s digital-rights-management platform for Office and other Microsoft- and third-party applications. Microsoft introduced RMS 1.0 in the fall of 2003, and is expected to release the first service pack for RMS in the first half of this year. Windows Certificate Services is a certificate server that Microsoft has offered as an add-on for Windows Server, starting with Windows Server 2000.

Other Microsoft components likely to be included in the first release of Microsoft’s unified ID-management platform are Active Directory, ADAM (Active Directory Application Mode), Active Directory Federated Services (code-named “Trustbridge”), Microsoft Identity Integration Server and forthcoming Microsoft ID-card technologies, other partners said.

Most, if not all, of these infrastructure wares also are slated to be built into the R2 Windows Server and Longhorn Server releases. R2, which currently is in beta, is slated to ship by the end of 2005. Longhorn Server is due out in 2007.

“Microsoft is integrating this stuff into a cohesive platform a lot like Microsoft Office,” said one of the company’s partners, who requested anonymity.

Read the full story on Microsoft Watch: Microsoft Preps a Unified ID-Management Suite