What would make two companies like Novell and IBM literally fall over the open source identity management Project known as Higgins, which some consider as the alter-ego of Microsoft's Infocard technology.
Identify management, part of the grand scheme known as Digital Rights Management, is certainly worth more than the meagre $4 billion that IDC predicts will be the size of the market by 2009.
The Higgins project, which gets its name from a Tasmanian Mouse, will be the glue bringing together various security schemes according to IBM and Novell. Higgins and Infocard work differently and the former is closer to being a theoretical framework than a turnkey system like Infocard is already.
With Microsoft having place huge stakes in security, right management and identity in the next few months, it is very easy to see why big corporations like Novell and IBM might be attracted to the same segment. Infocard is built into Windows Vista and will therefore give Microsoft a head-on start on the market.
Key to the success of Higgins though will be its capacity to attract other security heavyweights and convince software developers to put effort and time to build applications around Higgins.
IBM already has some experience already into turning losing battles into stunning victories. The Eclipse consortium was one of those and it would not be surprising that Higgins follow the same path down Security as Eclipse did in Programming.