Content Management Server was originally developed in Canada at NCompass Labs Inc. as ActiveEnterprise. The prefix "Active" was a reference to NCompass's work in the creation of the ActiveX technology. The software was later renamed Resolution. Some components within CMS continue to use the naming conventions of "AE" and "RE".
Microsoft Corporation acquired NCompass Labs in 2001 and renamed the software Microsoft Content Management Server. Shortly after the acquisition, Microsoft released CMS 2001. CMS 2001 was essentially a point release of NCompass Resolution 4.0.