Trusted Computing Group Forms

New group will develop and implement a set of specifications for trusted computing platforms.

A small but powerful group of technology companies, including Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp., on Tuesday announced the formation of a new group that will develop and implement a set of specifications for trusted computing platforms. Known as the Trusted Computing Group, the new alliance is purported to be the successor to the Trusted Computing Platform Alliance, of which Microsoft and some other TCG founders are members.

In fact, the TCG plans to adopt the TCPAs current specifications and has invited all 200 of that groups members to join the TCG. Current members of the TCG include IBM, Intel Corp., Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and VeriSign Inc., among others.

The TCPA was working to develop standards to help make hardware computing platforms more secure and trustworthy. Microsofts Next Generation Secure Computing Base, which incorporates several of the TCPAs ideas, is the most well-known technology associated with the group.

The new group has essentially brought with it all of the work done by the TCPA on hardware specifications. But the TCG has designs on greatly expanding the scope of what the former group worked on, most notably developing specifications for PDAs, digital phones and servers. The TCG is also at work on a software specification.

This broadening of the groups mission was one of the main drivers behind the decision to form the TCG.

"A lot of it was some structural improvements we made to the organization. Its incorporated now, we have a board and different membership classes," said Jim Ward, chairman of the board for TCG.

Although TCG is being billed as the TCPAs successor, most of the TCPAs members had no idea of its imminent demise. The TCG sent out a mass e-mail message to all of the former groups members this morning at roughly the same time the press release announcing the TCGs formation went out.

And TCPA members will still have to make a decision whether to join the new alliance and pay the annual dues of $7,500-$50,000.

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