A Brief Taligent History
Taligent was founded in early 1992 as part of a historic agreement between IBM and Apple Computer to develop the next generation microcomputer operating system. This new OS was to run on any hardware platform. It was also to be completely object-oriented from the ground up. Both companies had been committed to object-oriented technology for quite some time and it made sense to bring their knowledge together for a common cause. The core team of 150 software engineers came from the original "Pink" project started by Apple in 1988 to develop the next generation Macintosh operating system.

As time went by, priorities shifted as the industry and the partners changed. It was decided that people didn't really want a new operating system, but that rapid application development was still important. The Taligent OS became a layer that could sit on top of any modern operating system and provide numerous services to applications software, thereby shortening the development cycle. This layer consisted of more than a hundred object-oriented frameworks and well over a thousand classes. It ran on top of AIX, HP-UX, OS/2, Windows NT, and a new Apple OS kernel, and it was called CommonPoint. 

CommonPoint was most similar in scope and portability to Sun's subsequent Java environment, but based on C++ and without Java's virtual machine and new object programming language.  The CommonPoint development environment cpConstructor (code-named "Hoops") was a visual component-based incremental development environment akin to the now-familiar Cafe or JBuilder IDE's.  The CommonPoint user interface paradigm known as "People, Places, and Things", extended the personal computer desktop metaphor to collaborative, distributed, task-centered work spaces that anticipated today's web-based environment.  The book Inside Taligent Technology (Addison-Wesley, 1995) contains a detailed description of the CommonPoint system.

Early in 1994, Hewlett-Packard, which had been doing its own ground-breaking work with object-oriented technology, made the decision to become a Taligent partner. The first versions of CommonPoint shipped for AIX and OS/2 in mid-1995. Although the technology was critically acclaimed, CommonPoint was met with a lukewarm response in terms of sales. 

After the tragic death of its CEO in late 1995 Taligent faced somewhat of a crisis. There was a reduction in force at the end of 1995 as Taligent made the decision to focus on the technology and leave marketing to their partners. 

In the spring of 1996, Taligent became a wholly-owned subsidiary of IBM. As an important center for object technology, Taligent provided key software components for IBM development tools such as the Open Class class libraries for IBM's VisualAge for C++.  Taligent also created a set of Java- and JavaBeans-based development tools called WebRunner and a groupware product based on Lotus Notes called Places for Project Teams.  In addition, Taligent licensed key Java and C++ technologies to industry partners such as Sun, Netscape, and Oracle, including a number of classes that are today part of Sun's Java environment.  By late 1997, Taligent software technologies had been awarded over 120 US patents, plus another 180 internationally. 

After two years of maintaining Taligent as a wholly-owned subsidiary, IBM decided to complete the transition of Taligent formally into IBM.  Effective January 1998, the Taligent corporate entity was dissolved and the Taligent engineering teams became IBM employees, continuing their development of object technologies and products for IBM. 

Useful Taligent References

The book "Inside Taligent Technology" from Addison-Wesley contains a detailed overview of Taligent's object-oriented technology.

The complete Taligent developer documentation, including manuals, class and member descriptions, and documented sample programs are available on-line at CERN.

The complete set of Taligent US patents (141 as of May 2001) are available on-line at the US Patent and Trademark Office (+ 208 EPO and PCT patents available on-line at Delphion).