The FIDO Alliance, a consortium of vendors promoting authentication standards that includes Google, PayPal, Lenovo, BlackBerry and Nok Nok Labs, announced a major new member today: Microsoft.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based FIDO Alliance (FIDO is short for Fast IDentity Online) is creating a protocol that will let applications, browsers and servers speak the same language for authentication. This could become a universally accepted alternative to passwords, which are considered by most to be too easy to game and too hard to remember.

Microsoft will now develop FIDO-based authentication methods for logging in to its operating systems and applications.

Open FIDO specifications will support a range of authentication technologies for operating systems, including biometrics such as fingerprint and iris scanners, voice and facial recognition, as well as existing solutions and communications standards.

In related news, authentication technology company Nok Nok Labs announced today a partnership with PC vendor Lenovo. The companies say they will deliver a FIDO-ready solution to the market in early 2014.