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OpenID Foundation scores top-shelf board members

Microsoft, IBM, Yahoo, Google, and VeriSign representatives join corporate board, meaning that we may be seeing universal Internet logins a lot sooner than expected.

If the OpenID Foundation were a liquor cabinet, it just got stocked with some Grey Goose, Rhum Clement, and Gran Patron.

The foundation, which is pushing for a universal Internet login standard, announced on Thursday that representatives from Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, IBM, and VeriSign have become its first corporate board members. They join existing board members Scott Kveton (Vidoop), David Recordon (Six Apart), Dick Hardt (Sxip Identity), Martin Atkins (independent), Artur Bergman (Wikia), Johannes Ernst (NetMesh), Drummond Reed (Parity Communications), and executive director Bill Washburn.

Several major technology companies, including Yahoo, had already voiced support for the standard.

OpenID started as a grassroots initiative to handle an increasingly complex Internet rife with user accounts, logins, and passwords galore, and some skeptics thought that it couldn't possibly earn the approval of tech's biggest players. But its creators have gone on to build serious Web credibility, which has undoubtedly helped the standard move from an experimental geek project toward industrywide adoption.

Founder Brad Fitzpatrick, who developed the standard in 2005 while working at Six Apart, is now an engineer at Google and has been a key component of its OpenSocial developer initiative.

"Google shares the OpenID Foundation's vision of a Web that's easy to use and built on open standards available to everyone," Fitzpatrick said in a statement from the OpenID Foundation. "OpenID was always intended to be a decentralized sign-on system, so it's fantastic (for Google) to join a foundation committed to keeping it free and unencumbered by proprietary extensions."

The representatives from the OpenID Foundation's new corporate board members are Dewitt Clinton (Google), Tony Nadalin (IBM), Michael B. Jones (Microsoft), Gary Krall (VeriSign), and Shreyas Doshi (Yahoo).