Microsoft has made a deal with Web-authentication infrastructure provider VeriSign to include digital certificate—authentication technology in Microsoft's upcoming .NET Web services, .NET My Services (formerly code-named Hailstorm). .NET My Services represents the first wave of .NET-enabled services and utilizes Microsoft Passport, which stores user information such as passwords and credit card information for compatible Web sites. Microsoft has also contracted with antivirus vendor McAfee to add security software to Microsoft .NET server products.

"Clearly, we respect people's privacy, trust, and security needs, and we're going to give them—through partnerships and by doing the best job ourselves—the ability to feel that level of comfort," said Sanjay Parthasarathy, Microsoft's vice president of Strategy and Business Development. "This does, hopefully, alleviate some of \[people's\] concerns."

The addition of security services in .NET My Services is largely a public relations ploy at this point: Microsoft realizes that the biggest roadblock to .NET's success is a lack of consumer acceptance. By adopting a security backbone at this early stage, the company demonstrates that it's serious about security.