As many of you have undoubtedly have heard by now, Microsoft officially announced during PDC 2008 that Windows Live ID will become an Open ID provider. From the Live Services blog:
"You will soon be able to use your Windows Live ID account to sign in to any OpenID Web site!"
That's right! Soon you will be able to use your Windows Live ID account to log in to the 5 sites on the internet that suport Open ID!
All sarcasm aside, it does not appear that Microsoft will be joining those 5 sites and accepting Open ID logins. Color me unimpressed.
The success of Open ID has always, and continues to, hinge on there being websites that accept Open IDs. It's great and all that Microsoft has decided to join the Open ID party, but what they're doing doesn't really increase its utility. The whole point of Open ID is to make it so that users do not have to memorize a bunch of usernames and passwords to log into their accounts. Microsoft's latest move does little to further that cause since I still have to remember the same number of usernames and passwords as I did before.
At this point, the only sites that I use that accept Open ID are StackOverflow and … I can't even think of another one. When you consider how many big names have now thrown their weight behind the Open ID movement — Yahoo, AOL, and now Microsoft — it should be shocking that when you mention Open ID to the average internet user all you get is a blank stare. That tells me that there is something systematically wrong with the way it is being promoted.
Update 10/29/2009 3:05 PM
It appears that Google has joined the list of Open ID providers who don't accept Open ID as well. Only they went one step further — in the wrong direction — by forking Open ID and implementing it in a way that isn't compatible with any other Open ID providers. Are you kidding me?
I think this Slashdot comment summarizes it quite well:
OpenID's vision statement:
OpenID eliminates the need for multiple usernames across different websites, simplifying your online experience.
Everyone else's vision statement:
Fuck OpenID, I'm in control now.