In 1992, IBM and Apple formed Taligent as a joint venture to develop an object-oriented operating system that could run on any hardware platform. Much of the source code came from Pink, an operating system that Apple started designing in 1988. In 1994, Hewlett-Packard became Taligent's third major investor.

Aside from the significant organizational challenges resulting from Taligent's joint ownership, many potential customers couldn't see themselves adopting an entirely new operating system. Taligent responded by shifting focus from a new OS to a set of C++ foundation classes (CommonPoint), and a rapid application development environment (cpConstructor) that would run on top of existing operating systems.

The lukewarm reception to Taligent's software tools, as well as the leadership void left by the 1995 death of CEO Dick Gurino, led to IBM assuming sole ownership of Taligent in order to keep the organization afloat. After laying off half of Taligent's employees in 1996, IBM operated Taligent as a subsidiary until 1998, licensing Taligent intellectual property both for internal projects like Visual Age for C++, and for external products like Sun's Java environment.