Indeed, Newcomer said he finds it interesting "how this all plays out in the other aspects of the various relationships between Microsoft and IBM on the one hand, Microsoft and Sun on the other, and of course the ever-present competitive aspects among all three." "IBM and Sun have been positioning themselves more competitively in recent weeks, while Microsoft and Sun have been improving their level of cooperation," he said. "On the crucial identity management aspect of Web services security, however, it looks like IBM and Sun have found a way to also improve their level of cooperation. "We may end up with a split solution here, one based on Active Directory and another based on Liberty Alliance, despite the fact that both solutions claim to be compatible with each other," Newcomer said.Sun and Microsoft have said they plan to align their digital identity schemes as part of the major settlement the companies came to last spring around the antitrust lawsuit Sun filed against the software giant.Read more here about the interoperability push in the settlement between Sun and Microsoft. Some see eventual convergence of the standards. "At some point, the security specs might have to merge," Schmelzer said. "It will be interesting to see if Sun continues to support Liberty Allianceno reason why they shouldntand how that will merge with efforts to support the WS-* stack. Maybe theyll just support both sets of specs and hope for convergence." Meanwhile, Governors RedMonk partner, Stephen OGrady, summed up the overall news as a "very significant move for Liberty, as it brings one of the last remaining big identity holdouts into the fold. With IBM, Novell and Sun as board members, theres hope that Liberty might represent a consolidation point for identity efforts." Check out eWEEK.coms Developer & Web Services Center at http://developer.eweek.com for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.