July 6, 2006
In an effort to extend the productivity of its customers, software company Pi Corp. has bought Smart Desktop. Until now, Pi is perhaps best-known for its high-profile founder, Paul Maritz, a former Microsoft executive, who launched the company two years ago with Warburg-Pincus of New York. Smart Desktop will operate as a separate brand, and terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Smart Desktop will commercialize the results of the "TaskTracer" project of the Intelligent Information Systems Laboratory at Oregon State University (OSU). The research group developed new technology that uses machine intelligence to automatically classify, sort and organize information by observing and learning from people's interactions with their PCs. Smart Desktop's management team includes CEO John Forbes, who has more than 20 years of experience as an executive in the software industry including companies such as Visio and Autodesk. Pi stands for "Personal Information." The Seattle-based company creates online services aimed at making it easy for individuals to gather information, organize it, share it instantly and securely, and access it from any web-based device. Pi users are not required to set up servers, explicitly copy or upload information, or surrender control of their personal information to an online hosting company. Pi is currently in limited beta test with its first product and will expand its offerings over the coming months.
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