REDMOND, Wash., and RIVERSIDE, Calif., May 2, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. and I/O Software Inc. today announced their cooperation to foster widespread growth of biometrics through the integration of biometric authentication technology in future versions of the Microsoft® Windows® operating system. Microsoft has acquired I/O Software's Biometric API (BAPI) technology and SecureSuite core authentication technology to provide users with a higher level of network security based on a secure and reliable personal authorization method. The integration of biometric authentication will enable users to log on to their computers and conduct secure e-commerce transactions using a combination of fingerprint, iris pattern or voice recognition and strong private key, instead of a password.
Biometrics is the science of verifying a person's identity by comparing physical characteristics of his or her body with stored data such as a fingerprint or iris pattern. Biometric authentication devices include fingerprint scanners, iris scanners and voice verification systems. An emerging technology poised to help with information security and privacy issues, biometrics is well-suited to replace passwords and smart card PINs because biometric data cannot be forgotten, lost, stolen or shared with others.
"Microsoft is pleased to be working with I/O Software to bring biometrics to everyday computing," said Tod Nielson, vice president of the Platform Group at Microsoft. "We are fully committed to supporting biometrics in Windows to provide our customers with a security platform for the next generation of computing. Biometrics will provide an alternative to passwords in Windows to provide our customers with increased ease of use, a higher level of network security, and lower overall management costs."
"We are excited about working with Microsoft to bring the power of biometrics to every desktop," said William Saito, president and CEO of I/O Software. "This will spur the acceptance of biometric technology as an alternative authentication method to enhance user security and convenience. The technology is just now reaching the point where it both is affordable and works well enough for widespread use. Over the next few years, we expect to see fingerprint scanners or another form of biometric authentication on the majority of PCs."
For Users of Windows
An integrated support for biometrics authentication will provide customers with a long-trusted method for secure and reliable network authentication. With BAPI and SecureSuite technologies, users of Windows will benefit from authentication services, secure biometric data storage and a common user interface for biometric-enabled applications. Microsoft intends to have biometrics authentication integrated into future versions of Windows. I/O Software markets biometrics products today for Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT 4.0, with support for Windows 2000 expected by this summer.
For the Industry
Microsoft and I/O Software's cooperation provides an industry-leading direction for the incorporation of biometrics authentication into Windows-based applications and strengthens the industry adoption of biometrics.
"This announcement represents a major move forward for the widespread adoption and utilization of biometrics at the desktop, enterprise and general business levels," said Adam Backenroth, president of Financial Services Technology Consortium and vice president at Chase Manhattan Bank. "The financial services industry, along with other industries and government agencies, should benefit from this initiative."
"We believe this will be a real shot in the arm for the entire biometrics industry," said Andrew Mougis, senior vice president, Broadcast and Professional Company for Sony Electronics Inc. "Microsoft's adoption of this technology will bring new unity and cohesiveness to the industry, which will certainly be a benefit to all of us."
"This is a tremendous step forward for securing access to PCs, servers and networks," said Samir Nanavati, partner at New York City-based International Biometric Group, the leading biometric integration and consulting firm. "By incorporating BAPI into Windows, Microsoft is making dozens of biometric devices easily accessible to millions of end users and developers. Our Fortune 500 clients have been eagerly anticipating the widespread integration of a standard biometric API."
About I/O Software
I/O Software of Riverside is a leading developer of highly versatile information security software for user authentication, encryption, and Internet/e-commerce using PKI and digital certificates. These applications support a wide range of authentication devices, which include biometrics (i.e., fingerprint, iris, retinal, voice and facial recognition), smart cards and tokens. Named as one of the "Top 100 Emerging Companies to Watch in 2000" by ComputerWorld, I/O Software provides biometric/infosec-related consulting and engineering services to its Fortune 500 clients. Information on I/O Software's products is available at http://www.iosoftware.com/ or by calling (909) 222-7600.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT" ) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software - any time, any place and on any device.