Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard are teaming up to push a standard through for secure printing over the Internet called Simple Web Printing (SWP), which would let end-users print to any printer from any desktop.
SWP is being reviewed by the Internet printing protocol subgroup of the Internet Engineering Task Force.
"People have been trying to push through an Internet printing protocol," says Alyson Frasco, an analyst at International Data (IDC). "But if you've got Microsoft and HP behind it, it's probably going to happen."
According to Microsoft, the proposal will allow a user to submit, control, and monitor print jobs while connected to the Internet or corporate intranets via HTTP.
Analysts are wary of the capabilities. "Printing over a corporate intranet is good, but how often are you going to want to do that?" Frasco says. "You already know what printer you want to print to."
Security issues are being handled with Secure Sockets Layer 3 secure-transaction technology. The software requires authentication before it will allow printing to a remote printer, says Stacy Breyfogle, a product manager at Microsoft.