StepNexus Acquires Hive Minded and .NET-based Nectar™ Smart Card Technology

StepNexus Acquires Hive Minded and .NET-based Nectar™ Smart Card Technology

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 15, 2006–StepNexus Inc., the premier provider of the world’s first open, high-security, multi-application, smart card operating system MULTOS, has acquired Hive Minded Inc., the company that created and licenses Nectar™ smart card.NET technology based on Microsoft.NET.

Terms of the deal between the two privately held companies will not be disclosed. All employees of Hive Minded will become StepNexus employees.

StepNexus intends to integrate the .NET platform into the high-security key management infrastructure currently supporting more than 50 million MULTOS smart cards issued worldwide. Issuers of Nectar smart cards will benefit from the authorization and control offered by this system and application providers will benefit from the privacy of their content when loading and removing applications from Nectar smart cards or devices.

“Hive Minded recognized the merits of lining up with Microsoft’s IT direction,” said John Wood, CEO of StepNexus. “Distilling that opportunity into a security token, along with a strong execution of that vision, was simply brilliant. Nectar and the MULTOS operating system are complementary and symbiotic. StepNexus will provide a seamless architecture and Secure Trusted Environment platform which scales from 4k EE 8 bit smart cards right through to multi Megabyte 32 bit devices and beyond. Across this range smart card issuers will be able to benefit from the high security that MULTOS provides together with the development flexibility and integration of.NET. This deal is an industry transforming event.”

Nectar, the first and only commercial implementation of .NET for smart cards, was selected in 2004 to secure building and network access on the Microsoft Redmond Campus.

“Hive Minded’s Nectar technology brings the power of Microsoft.NET to the smart card environment”, said Charles Fitzgerald, general manager of platform strategy at Microsoft. “Based on the international standards approved by ECMA and ISO, Nectar allows smart card developers to tap the vast array of programming skills and tools associated with Microsoft .NET.”

The StepNexus system utilizes patented mechanisms for content protection using asymmetric key cryptography. When applied to Nectar, the system will allow easier and more secure remote deployment and management of smart card applications. This is particularly important in environments such as government or enterprise IT where conventional systems currently rely on symmetric key cryptography.

“Our current Nectar product provides the latest technology and the simplest route to market for smart card development,” said Tim Wilkinson, co-founder of Hive Minded. “Now, by combining the .NET platform with the StepNexus patented security scheme, we can also deliver the ultimate security solution. We’re very excited by the opportunities created by joining forces with StepNexus as it leverages its banking expertise to solve national identity, campus, secure ID and transit identification concerns.”

About Nectar Smart Card.Net Technology

The Nectar smart card version 1.1 is a Microsoft .NET compatible implementation of the Common Language Infrastructure, as standardized in ECMA 335 / ISO 23271. Nectar is licensed for implementation on 16-bit and 32-bit smart card microcontrollers or other secure embedded-technology devices. Nectar enables smart cards to integrate seamlessly with.NET execution environments through its use of Microsoft’s standard tools and Windows’ communication protocols. Nectar utilized Microsoft’s Visual Studio tools to provide unprecedented support for multiple programming languages (including Visual Basic, C#, J# and C++), allowing developers and solution providers to reuse their existing programming skills.

About StepNexus

StepNexus, formerly Bamboo Technologies, was formed by Oak Hill Venture Partners, Keycorp, Hitachi and MasterCard International in November 2005. The StepNexus flagship smart card system, MULTOS allows card issuers and application providers to share space on a single chip platform with a range of applications ranging from payment, authentication, digital identity, biometrics, loyalty, and contactless ticketing. Governance and development of the MULTOS standard is undertaken by the members of The MULTOS Consortium, consisting of 15 of the world’s leading smart card companies. More than 50 million MULTOS smart cards have been issued in more than 30 countries, in projects ranging from banking, national identity, campus security, secure ID and transit. For more information visit