Anyone who’s ever had to form a company can very well realize the hardship and difficulty that comes bundled with creating a company name that is descriptive (easy to remember and easy to link with the company’s product and operations) yet unique (stands out among the crowd).
However, some famous companies have gone a less-traditional route and used some pretty unique naming conventions. Usually the company names give an idea about their products, but there are some hugely popular tech companies whose name are so unique that they hardly give any clue about their company’s products and services. Here are some examples of 15 most popular technology company names and the interesting back-stories behind how they were coined.
1. Google – Larry Page and Sergey Brin chose Google which was deliberately mis-spelled and came from the word Googol. It’s the digit 1 followed by one hundred zeroes, and “reflected the company’s mission to organize the immense amount of information.” The name actually had started as a joke about the amount of information the search engine could search, or a “Googol” of information and when founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin gave a presentation to an angel investor, they received a check made out to “Google.” Here are 35 Interesting But Lesser Known Facts about Google.
2. Apple – The Apple was (and still is) the favorite fruit of Steve Jobs (co-founder). And not many knows that he also worked at an apple orchard. So it is no wonder why Steve Jobs chose this name for his dream company. Moreover, at the time of naming, it was chosen because they wanted to distance themselves from the “cold, unapproachable, complicated imagery created by other computer companies such as IBM, DEC,Cincom and Tesseract.”
3. Yahoo! – Stands for Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle. The word Yahoo was invented by Jonathan Swift and was used in his book Gulliver’s Travels. It represents a person who is repulsive in appearance and barely human. Yahoo! founders David Filo and Jerry Yang jokingly considered themselves as yahoos.
4. Hotmail – Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith had the idea of checking their email via a web interface, and tried to find a name that ended in “mail.” They finally settled on hotmail because it had the letters “html,” referencing the HTML programming language used to help create the product.
5. Canon – When Canon was founded in 1933 under the name Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory. Two years later they adopted “Canon” after the company’s first camera, the Kwanon. Kwanon is the Japanese name of the Buddhist bodhisattva of mercy.
6. Skype – The original prototype of the company’s flagship product had the name “Sky-Peer-to-Peer,” which was shrunk down to Skyper, then finally Skype.
7. Digg – Kevin Rose’s friend David Prager originally wanted to call the site “Diggnation”, but Kevin wanted a simpler name. He chose the name “Digg”, because users are able to “dig” stories, out of those submitted, up to the front page. The site was called “Digg” instead of “Dig” because the domain name “dig.com” was previously registered, by Walt Disney Internet Group.
8. Coca-Cola – Coca-Cola’s name comes from the the coca leaves and kola nuts used as flavoring in the soft drink. Eventually Coca-Cola creator John S. Pemberton changed the ‘K’ of kola to ‘C’ to create a more fluid name.
9. Twitter – The name twitter was derived from the original idea ‘Twitch’, which didn’t bring up the right imagery.
10. Compaq – They took the first three letters from computer and added the paq to “denote a small integral object”, or it could also mean “compatibility and quality.”
11. SAP – “Systems, Applications, Products in Data Processing”, formed by four ex-IBM employees who used to work in the ‘Systems/Applications/Projects’ group of IBM.
12. Verizon – Verizon is a combination of the words veritas, which is Latin for “truth,” and horizon.
13. Sony – From the Latin word ’sonus’ meaning sound, and ’sonny’ a slang used by Americans to refer to a bright youngster.
14. Xerox – The Greek root “xer” means dry. The inventor, Chestor Carlson, named his product Xerox as it was dry copying, markedly different from the then prevailing wet copying.
15. Intel – A combination of INTegrated Electronics