Tao Group

Tao Group

company_name = Tao Group
company_type = Limited company
foundation = 1992
location = , England
company_slogan = Imagine Tomorrow.

Tao Group was a software company headquartered in Reading, Berkshire,UK. It developed intent, a software platform. intent enabled content portability by delivering services in a platform independent format called Virtual Processor (VP). Its business was sold in May 2007.


* Tao Group was set up by Francis Charig and Chris Hinsley in 1992.
* In 1992, Tao Group released the first generation of its virtual machine called Virtual Processor (VP).
* In 1998, Tao Group released the second generation of its virtual machine called VP2.
* In 2002, Tao acquired [http://www.intermorphic.com/company/history.html SSEYO] , a British audio company specializing in generative music technologies, and creators of the Koan generative music engine. In 2007 the founders of SSEYO established intermorphic [http://www.intermorphic.com] , a generative tools company.
* [http://www.intermorphic.com/company/history.html 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 such as Sony, NEC and Panasonic.
* The Open Contents Platform Association, headquartered in Tokyo and chaired by Yasuo Nishiguchi, the President of Kyocera and then by Francis Charig, the Chief Executive of Tao spent three years from 2001 looking at networked device standardization using intent. More than 50 companies were members, mostly Japanese.
* Red Herring included Tao in its top 100 European privately held companies in both 2005 and 2005.
* In 2006 Francis Charig, Chief Executive of Tao was named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer.
* Tao ranked 26th in the Fast Track 2006 Tech Track 100 in association with the Sunday Times.
* 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 IP assets. Licensing of the technology is now managed by an SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle), Replevix LLC.
* Replevix LLC sued Taiwanese handset maker HTC in November 2007 for patent violations.
* [http://antixlabs.com/ Antix Labs Ltd] is a service company founded in mid-2007 by Francis Charig and headquartered in Reading, England employing more than forty of the team previously working at Tao.
* In 2008, [http://www.intermorphic.com/ Intermorphic Ltd] acquired the intent Sound System (iSS) technology (including Koan and miniMIXA). The technology is rebranded as the Intermorphic Sound System, part of Intermorphic's "tikl tech" platform. Koan has been superseded by Intermorphic's [http://www.intermorphic.com/tools/noatikl/index.html Noatikl] music engine, and miniMIXA has been rebranded and further developed into [http://www.intermorphic.com/tools/mixtikl/index.html Mixtikl] .


The company's main products were:

* intent: A hardware independent software platform
* miniMIXA: A BAFTA award winning multimedia mixer


Tao Group's intent was a software platform which was licensed to third party hardware or service providers. It enabled games and multimedia entertainment to be delivered on mobiles and other digital devices. It simplified content management by delivering code in an efficient hardware independent format. Hardware independence is important to suppliers of mobiles, PDAs, set top boxes and other devices that can run multimedia or need software updating as it both reduces the support cost of older equipment and also ensures older content can be used on new equipment.

The intent platform could be run either as the native operating system or as an application under another OS. Service code was delivered in a format called Virtual Processor (VP) which was translated on the device to the particular 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 BAFTA award winning multimedia mixer called "miniMIXA"
* A MIDI ringtone engine

Unlike .NET CIL and Java bytecode intent's intermediate language VP did not inherently provide security facilities. Such facilities were available under its JVM but 'native' intent code could only be run from a trusted supplier. The VP code was however more compact and had better optimisation hinting so the translator could be both small and efficient.

The intent JVM ran Java bytecode by first translating it to VP and then translating the result to native code. This resulted in a Java implementation which was very fast, albeit challenging to port.

Systems without a memory manager, such as uCLinux, were supported, including support for shared libraries. The stack could be extended automatically by linking to extra space. Object-oriented methods and subclassing were an integral part of the system design and the audio visual interface used this methodology extensively.


* Announcement of formation of Open Contents Standard Association: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0ECZ/is_2001_July_16/ai_76556099
* Interview with Tech Pioneer, Tao Group: http://www.weforum.org/en/fp/TechPioneerTaoGroup/index.htm
* Red Herring Europe 100 Award in 2006: http://www.redherring.com/Home/16775
* Kyocera invests in Tao Group: http://www.electronicsweekly.com/Articles/2003/01/29/28063/reading-based+tao+wins+japanese+mobile+backing.htm
* Tao acquires SSEYO: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0ECZ/is_2002_March_28/ai_84240630
* Tao wins BAFTA for its [http://www.intermorphic.com/company/history.html SSEYO] miniMIXA product: http://msmobiles.com/news.php/3645.html
* Tao ranked 26th in the Tech Track 100 and confirmation Charig & Hinsley as the founders: http://www.fasttrack.co.uk/fasttrack2002/migration/dbDetails.asp?siteID=3&compID=1885&yr=2006
* Replevix sues High Tech Computer Corporation [http://dockets.justia.com/docket/court-paedce/case_no-2:2007cv04625/case_id-241663/]

External links

* [http://www.taosupport.com Tao Support Ltd website]
*waybackdate|site=http://tao-group.com|date=20070528180024|title=Tao Group website (on the Internet Archive)
* [http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?TaoIntentOs Tao Intent Os] An earlier version of intent described on WikiWikiWIki
* [http://www.osnews.com/story.php/157/Tao-Group-on-ElateOS-AmigaDE-and-More/ Interview with the developers of intent 2001]
* [http://www.intermorphic.com Intermorphic Limited]

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