Saturday, December 13, 2008

Open Source Advocate Dick Hardt Joins Microsoft

Digital identity pioneer and open source entrepreneur Dick Hardt will join Microsoft as partner architect, according to his "Identity 2.0" blog on Tuesday.

Although there was no official word from Microsoft as of Wednesday, Hardt wrote that he was "recruited" by the software giant because he is an "independent thinker."

According to his blog, Hardt will be focusing on "consumer, enterprise and government identity problems," which is not far off the beaten path for the founder of Sxipper Inc. The company, pronounced "skipper," specializes in identity products, including a popular browser add-on for Firefox that streamlines forms and remembers multiple log-in names and pesky passwords.

"My open source, open web and digital community experience will continue to guide my thinking," Hardt stated in his blog. "For me, this is an opportunity to workŠ’ on the identity problems I have been toiling over for the last six years, but now with massive resources."

The 45-year-old entrepreneur is has been credited as an open source advocate and supporter of "Identity 2.0," a term describing user-centric digital identities, according to Wikipedia. Hardt founded ActiveState in 1997 to develop tools for "open source programming languages and anti-spam software." He reportedly sold ActiveState in 2003 to UK-based Sophos for $23 million.

"I have worked with open source and internet technologies for 15 years," he wrote in his blog. "And, at ActiveState, [I] bridged the gap between them and Microsoft."

Hardt wrote that he has not "sold out" by joining Microsoft, and will continue to serve as "chair" of Sxipper. He described the opportunity at Microsoft as a chance to learn how "big enterprise and big software" work.

"I'm also excited about changes that are afoot at Microsoft such as Azure and to work beside a bunch of really smart people." He added he will be joining friends Jon Udell, Dana Boyd and Ray Ozzie in the new endeavor.

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