Far away from the courtroom battle that has raised questions about Microsoft Corp.'s future in computer operating systems, the giant software company has established a solid beachhead in the smart card market.

A year since Microsoft laid out its strategy to extend the Windows operating system into smart cards, it has accomplished enough to declare at least a preliminary set of victories. Hundreds of programmers have been trained on the system. Several trial implementations are under way involving financial institutions or chip card vendors that work closely with them.

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