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Tao Group was a software company with headquarters in Reading, Berkshire, UK. It developed the Intent software platform, which enabled content portability by delivering services in a platform-independent format called Virtual Processor (VP). The business was sold in May 2007 to Cross Atlantic Capital Partners.
Francis Charig and Chris Hinsley founded Tao Group in 1992. In the same year, the company released the first generation of its virtual machine, called Virtual Processor (VP). In 1998, Tao Group released the second generation, VP2.
In 2002, Tao acquired SSEYO, a British audio company that specialised in generative music technologies and created the Koan generative music engine. SSEYO won a BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Award in 2001. Tao won a BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Award in 2005 for the miniMIXA product. Tao licensed more than 20 million copies of Intent to clients, working with companies such as Sony, NEC, JVC, Kyocera, HTC, Philips Electronics, Kodak, Sharp and Panasonic. From 2001 to 2004, the Open Contents Platform Association (chaired by Kyocera President Yasuo Nishiguchi) and Tao CEO Francis Charig looked at networked device standardisation using Intent. More than 50 companies were members, mostly Japanese. Red Herring included Tao in its top 100 European privately held companies in 2005 and 2006.
Investors in Tao Group included Motorola, Freescale Semiconductor, Sony, NEC, Sharp, Kyocera, and Mitsubishi. In June 2007 Cross Atlantic Licensing, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cross Atlantic Capital Partners LLC, acquired the business. In mid-2007 Charig founded Antix Labs Ltd, which is headquartered in Reading, England, and employs many who previously worked at Tao. Antix has built a software games player.[further explanation needed] In 2008, Intermorphic Ltd, a generative tools company established by the founders of SSEYO, acquired the entire intellectual property base of the Intent Sound System (ISS) technology (including Koan and miniMIX) from Cross Atlantic Licensing, and it is now rebranded as the Intermorphic Sound System, part of Intermorphic's "tikl tech" platform. Koan has been superseded by Intermorphic's Noatikl music engine, and miniMIXA has been rebranded and further developed into Mixtikl.
The company's main product was "Intent", an award winning hardware-independent software platform.
Tao Group's licensed product, "Intent", was a software platform provided to third party hardware and service providers. It enabled games and multimedia entertainment to run on mobiles and other digital devices. It was also used to simplify content management by delivering code in an efficient hardware-independent format.
The Intent platform could be run either as the native operating system or as an application. Service code was delivered in a format called Virtual Processor (VP), which was translated on the device to native machine code.
The Intent portfolio included support for:
- C/C++ games with OpenGL ES 3D rendering
- A Java virtual machine which translated to native code
- An internet browser optimised for small screens
- A music and multimedia mixer called miniMIXA
- A MIDI ringtone engine called the Advanced Polyphone Ringtone Engine.
- Kelly Fiveash (13 June 2007). "Tao Group throws in the towel". The Register. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
- "Founders History". Intermorphic. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
- "Red Herring Reveals Companies Selected for the 2006 Red Herring 100 Europe; Award Recognizes the 100 Most Promising Firms Driving the Future of Technology". Business Wire. 9 May 2006. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
- "TheWorld Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2006" (PDF). World Economic Forum. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
- "Noatikl 2 | Generative Music Lab for Reflective Music". Intermorphic. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
- "Mixtikl – Generative Music Mixer with Words, Visualizer and Tap Play | Intermorphic Music App Software for iPhone iPad iPod touch Android Mac Windows". Intermorphic.com. 1 July 2010. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
- Announcement of formation of Open Contents Standard Association
- Kyocera invests in Tao Group
- Tao acquires SSEYO
- Tao wins BAFTA for its SSEYO miniMIXA product
- Tao ranked 26th in the Tech Track 100 and confirmation Charig & Hinsley as the founders
- Tao Group website (on the Internet Archive) at the Wayback Machine (archived 28 May 2007)
- Tao Intent Os An earlier version of Intent described on WikiWikiWIki
- Interview with the developers of Intent 2001
- Intermorphic Limited