Microsoft Corp has released a development kit that will enable developers to build smart card-aware applications. The Smart Card Development Kit for Windows, currently free, is the first part of a full development kit that users will eventually have to pay for. Microsoft believes that smart cards will enable a new generation of personal computer-based applications, where users will be able to insert a smart card into a PC smart reader to securely log on to their system or the network and perform a series of tasks, including videoconferencing, online banking and the viewing and sending of messages. Gemplus SA, Schlumberger Ltd, Hewlett-Packard Co, IBM Corp, Compagnie des Machines Bull SA and Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG are all supporting the smart-card platform for Windows, which rivals Sun Microsystems Inc’s Java Smart Card effort. The development kit took two years to complete.
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