There is a new chapter in the debacle which started with Microsoft’s extending and embracing of SPF and its advocate, Meng Weng Wong, and which culiminated in the collapse of an empire (well, ok, of the IETF working group tasked with evaluating Sender I.D.) due to concerns about the scopes of both the Sender I.D. patent application and Microsoft’s licensing scheme, and following the denouncement of Sender I.D. by AOL and the Apache Foundation, among others.
Microsoft announced yesterday that it has reworked the patent application, along with addressing some technical concerns, and has resubmitted Sender I.D. to the IETF for new consideration.
Attendantly, AOL has announced that it will now support Sender I.D., along with its ongoing support for SPF.
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Where this will all end is anyone’s guess, but the smart money is still on publishing SPF records, as it has a broader adoption platform already, has none of the uncertainty or scandal attached, and is inherently open source, while anything Microsoft is inherently anti-open source (see CIO’s in-depth and interesting article about this latter, in which they make a good case that “Microsoft’s policy priorities (include) limiting the adoption of open-source software”).
Plus, ultimately, any email receiver worth worrying about will be checking SPF records even if they are also checking for Sender I.D., while the reverse will not necessarily be true, and, indeed, it has been suggested that the new version of Sender I.D. may itself provide for checking of SPF records. If that is the case, then it may indeed be that Microsoft has learned a lesson, as this would provide adopters with the best of both technologies (Sender I.D. and SPF check different aspects of incoming email), and would be the adult (and business-smart) thing to do.
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