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Intel Boot Initiative
During the developement of Intel-Itanium systems in the late 1990's, the question of the limitations of the basic input/output system (BIOS) firmware in large server platforms was being questioned by engineers and software developers.
BIOS was limited to a 16-bit processor mode due to originally being developed for use with Intel 8088 microprocessors, and only allowed for 1MB of addressable space. It didn't offer any independence of CPU in use and could only provide the most basic of user interfaces for administrators.
In 1998, Intel decided to address these concerns with the Intel Boot Initiative. It later became EFI, and the Extensible Firmware Interface specification was developed. Intel still licenses the EFI 1.10 specification exclusively but EFI has evolved to UEFI under the Unified EFI Group.