I just couldn't pass up making a quick comment on Dick Hardt's provocatively titled post "Facebook Connect - fatal blow for OpenID?"  In it he suggests that Facebook Connect, which is the company's new distributed identity system, could win out over OpenID in the end.  Here is the quote...

Facebook Connect is a powerful identity system. Using Facebook Connect, a site gets access to the user’s profile data and the users friends. For sites such as Digg and Movable Type that want to make users accountable for their activity, there is an implicit reputation of the user based on the depth of the profile.

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The promise of OpenID was to make login simple and move profile data. A number of us have been looking at using OpenID to make an accountable web. Given the momentum and immediate value of a Facebook identity system and the lack of OpenID RP deployment, one wonders if the identity opportunities of OpenID have passed.

Two points here, the first of which is stated very well by David Recordon who says...

Just as no one would let Microsoft own the protocol, no one is going to let Facebook either.

There's a lot of truth to that.  I'm not sure this is a situation where no company could ever control an identity platform but if a company did succeed they would need a lot of trust from the consumer.  That's why Microsoft has tried several times and failed, people simply don't trust them anymore.  Now that PR nightmares such as Beacon have had their way with Facebook I'd put them in the same boat as Microsoft in regards to trust.

Which brings me to point #2, despite what "community advocates" might have you believe most of the web traffic on the Internet is from about 10 big companies.  Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, MySpace, etc...  Unless a company wanting to control identity can gather the support of those companies they simply are not going to succeed.  Given Facebook is a direct competitor with several of those companies their chances of becoming the defacto identity provider are next to nothing.

Bonus Point Addendum: This is a topic for a much longer post but I did want to make one more point.  Many are saying Facebook Connect will win out because it provides access to the "Treasure Trove" that is a Facebook User's profile information.  I'm sorry, but I've never seen where the great value is in this.  Knowing what someone says their favorite movie is or what their favorite quote is doesn't strike me as ground breaking info that's going to revolutionize the web ad business.  That skepticism, by the way, is borne out by the seemingly awful return rate on Facebook ads.