Wednesday, July 05, 2006

How some companies got their name

Slightly long, but interesting ..

ABN AMRO- In the 1960s, the Nederlandse Handelmaatschappij (Dutch
Trading Society; 1824) and the Twentsche Bank merged to form the Algemene
Bank Nederland ( ABN; General Bank of the Netherlands). In 1966, the
Amsterdamsche Bank and the Rotterdamsche Bank merged to form the Amro Bank.
In 1991, ABNand Amro Bank merged to form ABN AMRO.

Accenture- Accent on the Future. Greater-than 'accent' over the logo's
to points forward towards the future. The name Accenture was proposed by
a company employee in Norwayas part of a internal name finding process
(BrandStorming). Prior to January 1, 2001 the company was called
Andersen Consulting.

Adidas - from the name of the founder Adolf (Adi) Dassler.

Adobe - came from name of the river Adobe Creek that ran behind the
houses of founders John Warnock and Chuck Geschke .

AltaVista - Spanish for "high view".

Amazon.com - Founder Jeff Bezos renamed the company to Amazon (from the
earlier name of Cadabra.com) after the world's most voluminous river,
the Amazon. He saw the potential for a larger volume of sales in an
online bookstore as opposed to the then prevalent bookstores. (Alternative:
It is said that Jeff Bezos named his book store Amazon simply to cash
in on the popularity of Yahoo at the time. Yahoo listed entries
alphabetically, and thus Amazon would always appear above its competitors in
the relevant categories it was listed in.)

AMD- Advanced Micro Devices.

Apache - The name was chosen from respect for the Native American Indian
tribe of Apache (Indé), well-known for their superior skills in
warfare strategy and their inexhaustible endurance. Secondarily, and more
popularly (though incorrectly) accepted, it's considered a cute name that
stuck: its founders got started by applying patches to code written for
NCSA's httpd daemon. The result was 'a patchy' server â€" thus the name

Apple - for the favourite fruit of co-founder Steve Jobs and/or for the
time he worked at an apple orchard. He was three months late in filing
a name for the business, and he threatened to call his company Apple
Computer if his colleagues didn't suggest a better name by 5 p.m. Apple's
Macintosh is named after a popular variety of apple sold in the US.
Apple also wanted to distance itself from the cold, unapproachable,
complicated imagery created by the other computer companies at the time had
names like IBM, NEC, DEC, ADPAC, Cincom, Dylakor, Input, Integral
Systems, SAP, PSDI, Syncsort and Tesseract. The new company sought to reverse
the entrenched view of computers in order to get people to use them at
home. They looked for a name that was unlike the names of traditional
computer companies, a name that also supported a brand positioning
strategy that was to be perceived as simple, warm, human, approachable and
different. Note: Apple had to get approval from the Beatle's Apple Corps
to use the name 'Apple' and paid a one-time royalty of $100,000 to
McIntosh Laboratory, Inc., a maker of high-end audio equipment, to use the
derivative name 'Macintosh', known now as just 'Mac'.

AT&T - American Telephone and Telegraph Corporation officially changed
its name to AT&T in the 1990s.

Bauknecht - Founded as an electrotechnical workshop in 1919 by Gottlob
Bauknecht .

BBC - Stands for British Broadcasting Corporation.

BenQ - Bringing ENjoyment and Quality to life

Blaupunkt- Blaupunkt (Blue dot) was founded in 1923 under the name
Ideal. Their core business was the manufacturing of headphones. If the
headphones came through quality tests, the company would give the
headphones a blue dot. The headphones quickly became known as the blue dots or
blaue Punkte. The quality symbol would become a trademark, and the
trademark would become the company name in 1938.

BMW- abbreviation of Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor

Borealis - The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis, is the celestial
phenomenon that features bursts of light in colourful patterns dancing
across the night skies of the north. Borealis, inspired from the shining
brilliance of the Northern Lights, was formed in 1994 out of the merger
between two northern oil companies, Norway's Statoil and Finland's

BP - formerly British Petroleum, now "BP" (The slogan "Beyond
Petroleum" has incorrectly been taken to refer to the company's new name
following its rebranding effort in 2000).

BRAC- abbreviation for Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, world's
largest NGO (non governmental organization). It works in development
programs around the world.

Bridgestone - named after founder Shojiro Ishibashi. The surname
Ishibashi (??) means "stone bridge", i.e. "bridge of stone".

Bull - Compagnie des machines Bull was founded in Paristo exploit the
patents for punched card machines taken out by a Norwegian engineer,
Fredrik Rosing Bull.

Cadillac - Cadillac was named after the 18th century French explorer
Antoine Laumet de La Mothe , sieur de Cadillac, founder of Detroit,
Michigan. Cadillac is a small town in the South of France.

Canon - Originally (1933) Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory the
new name (1935) derived from the name of the company's first camera, the
Kwannon, in turn named after the Japanese name of the Buddhist
bodhisattva of mercy.

CGI - from the first letter of Information Management Consultant in
french (Conseiller en Gestion et Informatique).

Cisco - short for San Francisco. It has also been suggested that it was
"CIS-co" -- Computer Information Services was the department at
StanfordUniversitythat the founders worked in.

COBRA - Computadores Brasileiros, "Brazilian Computers", electronics and
services company, was the first state-owned designer and producer of
computers in the 1970s, later acquired by the Banco do Brasil.

Coca-Cola - Coca-Cola's name is derived from the coca leaves and kola
nuts used as flavoring. Coca-Cola creator John S. Pemberton changed the
'K' of kola to 'C' for the name to look better.

Colgate-Palmolive - formed from a merger of soap manufacturers Colgate &
Company and Palmolive-Peet. Peet was dropped in 1953. Colgate was named
after WilliamColgate, an English immigrant, who set up a starch, soap
and candle business in New York Cityin 1806. Palmolive was named for the
two oils (Palm and Olive) used in its manufacture.

Compaq - from "comp" for computer, and "pack" to denote a small integral
object; or: Compatibility And Quality; or: from the company's first
product, the very compact Compaq Portable.

Comsat - an American digital telecommunications and satellite company,
founded during the President Kennedy era to develop the technology.
Contraction of Communications Satellites.

Daewoo - the company founder Kim Woo Chong called it Daewoo which means
"Great Universe" in Korean.

Dell - named after its founder, Michael Dell. The company changed its
name from Dell Computer in 2003.

DHL - the company was founded by Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom , and
Robert Lynn , whose last initials form the company's moniker.

eBay - Pierre Omidyar, who had created the Auction Web trading website,
had formed a web consulting concern called Echo Bay Technology Group. "
EchoBay" didn't refer to the town in Nevada, the nature area close to
Lake Mead , or any real place. "It just sounded cool," Omidyar reportedly
said. When he tried to register EchoBay.com, though, he found that Echo
Bay Mines, a gold mining company, had gotten it first. So, Omidyar
registered what (at the time) he thought was the second best name:

Epson - Epson Seiko Corporation, the Japanese printer and peripheral
manufacturer, was named from "Son of Electronic Printer"

Fanta - was originally invented by Max Keith in Germanyin 1940 when
World War II made it difficult to get the Coca-Cola syrup to Nazi Germany.
Fanta was originally made from byproducts of cheese and jam production.
The name comes from the German word for imagination (Fantasie or
Phantasie), because the inventors thought that imagination was needed to
taste oranges from the strange mix.

Fazer - named after its founder, Karl Fazer.

Fiat - acronym of Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (Italian Factory
of Cars of Turin).

Fuji - from the highest Japanese mountain Mount Fuji.

Google - the name is an intentional misspelling of the word googol,
reflecting the company's mission to organize the immense amount of
information available online.

Haier - Chinese ? "sea" and ? (a transliteration character; also means
"you" in Literary Chinese)

HP - Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard tossed a coin to decide whether the
company they founded would be called Hewlett-Packard or Packard-Hewlett.

Hitachi - old place name, literally "sunrise"

Honda - from the name of its founder, Soichiro Honda

Honeywell - from the name of Mark Honeywell founder of Honeywell Heating
Specialty Co. It later merged with Minneapolis Heat Regulator Company
and was finally called Honeywell Inc. in 1963.

Hotmail - Founder Jack Smith got the idea of accessing e-mail via the
web from a computer anywhere in the world. When Sabeer Bhatia came up
with the business plan for the mail service, he tried all kinds of names
ending in 'mail' and finally settled for Hotmail as it included the
letters "HTML" - the markup language used to write web pages. It was
initially referred to as HoTMaiL with selective upper casing. (If you click
on Hotmail's 'mail' tab, you will still find "HoTMaiL" in the URL.)

HSBC - The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.

Hyundai - connotes the sense of "the present age" or "modernity" in

IBM - named by Tom Watson, an ex-employee of National Cash Register. To
one-up them in all respects, he called his company International
Business Machines.

ICL - abbreviation for International Computers Ltd, once the UK's
largest computer company, but now a service arm of Fujitsu, of Japan.

IKON - copier company name derived from I Know One Name.

Intel - Bob Noyce and Gordon Moore initially incorporated their company
as N M Electronics. Someone suggested Moore Noyce Electronics but it
sounded too close to "more noise" -- not a good choice for an electronics
company! Later, Integrated Electronics was proposed but it had been
taken by somebody else. Then, using initial syllables from INTegrated
ELectronics, Noyce and Moore came up with Intel. To avoid potential
conflicts with other companies of similar names, Intel purchased the name
rights for $15,000 from a company called Intelco. (Source: Intel 15 Years
Corporate Anniversary Brochure)

Interland - a web hosting provider formally known as Micron Computer,
Inc. which was named either after InternetLandor the combination of the
largest acqusition it performed, Interliant with the word Land.

Kawasaki - from the name of its founder, Shozo Kawasaki

Kodak - Both the Kodak camera and the name were the invention of founder
George Eastman . The letter "K" was a favourite with Eastman; he felt
it a strong and incisive letter. He tried out various combinations of
words starting and ending with "K". He saw three advantages in the name.
It had the merits of a trademark word, would not be mis-pronounced and
the name did not resemble anything in the art. There is a misconception
that the name was chosen because of its similarity to the sound
produced by the shutter of the camera.

Konica - it was earlier known as Konishiroku Kogaku. Konishiroku in turn
is the short for Konishiya Rokubeiten which was the first name of the
company established by Rokusaburo Sugiura in the 1850s.

Korg - Formed from the surnames of the founders, Tsutomu Katoh and
Tadashi Osanai, combined with the letters "rg" from the word organ.

LG - combination of two popular Korean brands Lucky and Goldstar. (In
Mexicopublicists explained the name change to the public as an
abbreviation to Línea Goldstar Spanish for Goldstar Line)

L'Oréal - In 1907, Eugène Schueller, a young French chemist, developed
an innovative hair-color formula. He called his improved hair dye

Lotus Software - Mitch Kapor got the name for his company from 'The
Lotus Position' or 'Padmasana'. Kapor used to be a teacher of
Transcendental Meditation technique as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Lucent Technologies - a spin-off from AT&T, it was named Lucent (meaning
"luminous" or "glowing with light") because "light as a metaphor for
visionary thinking reflected the company's operating and guiding business
philosophy," according to the Landor Associates staff who chose the
name. Source: Design Management Journal 8:1 (Winter 1997).

Lycos - from Lycosidae, the family of wolf spiders.

Mazda Motor - from the company's first president, Jujiro Matsuda . In
Japanese, no syllables are ever stressed and some inner syllables are
virtually skipped. Thus, Matsuda is pronounced "Matsda". To make the name
fly better outside of Japan, the spelling was changed to Mazda.

McDonald's - from the name of the brothers Dick McDonald and Mac
McDonald, who founded the first McDonald 's restaurant in 1940.

Mercedes - This is the first name of the daughter of Emil Jellinek, who
worked for the early Daimler company around 1900.

MGM - Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was formed by the merger of three picture
houses Metro Picture Corporation, Goldwyn Pictures Corporation and Louis B.
Mayer Pictures. Goldwyn Picture Corporation in turn was named after the
last names of Samuel Goldfish and Edgar and Archibald Selwyn.

Micron - computer memory producer named after the microscopic parts of
its products. The official name was Micron Computer, Inc. Since, the
company has become Interland, a web hosting provider, after
selling/spinning off its RAM division and closing down its computer division,
licensing the name. The company is now headquartered in Atlanta.

Microsoft - coined by Bill Gates to represent the company that was
devoted to MICROcomputer SOFTware. Originally christened Micro-Soft, the '-'
was removed later on.

MidPhase - the post-dotcom era gave using the .com in a companies
official name untrendy. A new dotcom company may be named traditionally, in
midPhase's case it was named midPhase Services, Inc., the midPhase
stands for Middle Phase, or middle of the road.

Mitsubishi - The name Mitsubishi (??) has two parts: mitsu means three
and hishi (changing to bishi in the middle of the word) means water
chestnut, and from here rhombus, which is reflected in the company's logo.

Motorola - Founder Paul Galvin came up with this name when his company
(at the time, Galvin Manufacturing Company) started manufacturing radios
for cars. Many audio equipment makers of the era used the " ola" ending
for their products, most famously the "Victrola" phonograph made by the
Victor Talking Machine Company. The name was meant to convey the idea
of "sound" and "motion". The name became so recognized that the company
later adopted it as the company name.

Mozilla Foundation - from the name of the web-browser that preceded
Netscape Navigator. When Marc Andreesen , founder of Netscape, created a
browser to replace the Mosaic browser, it was internally named Mozilla
(Mosaic-Killer, Godzilla) by Jamie Zawinski.

MRF - Madras Rubber Factory, founded by K M Mammen Mappillai in 1946. He
started with a toy balloon-manufacturing unit at Tiruvottiyur, Chennai
(then called Madras). In 1952, he began manufacturing tread-rubber, and
in 1961, tyres.

Nero - Nero Burning ROM named after Nero burning Rome.

Netscape - named by first marketing employee Greg Sands, in a panic when
the Universityof Illinoisthreatened to sue the new company for its
original name, Mosaic. Netscape then paid Landor $50,000 to design a logo.

Nike - named for the Greek goddess of victory.

Nikon - the original name was Nippon Kogaku, meaning "Japanese

Nissan - the company was earlier known by the name Nippon Sangyo which
means "Japanese industry".

Nokia - started as a wood-pulp mill, the company expanded into producing
rubber products in the Finnish city of Nokia. The company later adopted
the city's name.

Nortel - The Nortel Networks name came from Nortel (Northern Telecom)
and Bay Networks. The company was originally spun off from the Bell
Telephone Company of Canada Ltd in 1895 as Northern Electric and
Manufacturing, and traded as Northern Electric from 1914 to 1976.

Novartis - after the Latin _expression "novae artes" which means
something like "new skills".

Oracle - Larry Ellison, Ed Oates and Bob Miner were working on a
consulting project for the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). The code name
for the project was Oracle (the CIA saw this as the system to give
answers to all questions or some such). The project was designed to help use
the newly written SQL database language from IBM. The project
eventually was terminated but they decided to finish what they started and bring
it to the world. They kept the name Oracle and created the RDBMS
engine. Later they changed the name of the company, Relational Technology
Inc, to the name of the product.

Pepsi - Pepsi derives its name from (treatment of) dyspepsia, an
intestinal ailment.

Philips - Royal Philips Electronics was founded in 1891, by brothers
Gerard (the engineer) and Anton (the entrepreneur) Philips .

Qantas - From its original name, Queensland And Northern Territory
Aerial Services.

Red Hat - Company founder Marc Ewing was given the Cornell lacrosse team
cap (with red and white stripes) while at college by his grandfather.
People would turn to him to solve their problems, and he was referred to
as 'that guy in the red hat'. He lost the cap and had to search for it
desperately. The manual of the beta version of Red Hat Linux had an
appeal to readers to return his Red Hat if found by anyone.

Reebok - another spelling of rhebok (Pelea capreolus), an African

SAAB - founded in 1937 in Swedenas "Svenska Aeroplan aktiebolaget"
(Swedish Aeroplane Company) abbreviated SAAB.

Samsonite - Samsonite was launched as a brand in 1941, receiving its
name from the Biblical character Samson, renowned for his strength.

Samsung - meaning three stars in Korean.

Sanyo - The Japanese translation is disputed, although the Chinese name
is "??" (literally, "Three Oceans")

SAP - "Systems, Applications, Products in Data Processing", formerly
"SystemAnalyse und Programmentwicklung" (German for "System analysis and
program development"), formed by 4 ex- IBM employees who used to work in
the 'Systems/Applications/Projects' group of IBM.

SEGA - "Service Games of Japan" (SeGa) Founded by Marty Bromley (an
American) to import pinball games to Japanfor use on American military

Sharp - Japanese consumer electronics company named from its first
product, an ever-sharp pencil.

Shell - Royal Dutch Shell was established in 1907, when the Royal
Netherlands Petrol Society Plc. and the Shell Transport and Trading Company
Ltd. merged. The Shell Transport and Trading Company Ltd. had been
established at the end of the 19th century, by commercial firm Samuel & Co
(founded in 1830). Samuel & Co were already successfully importing
Japanese shells when they set up an oil company, so the oil company was
named after the shells Samuel & Co were importing.

Siemens - founded in 1847 by Werner von Siemens and Johann Georg
Halske: the company was originally called Telegraphen-Bau-Anstalt von Siemens
& Halske.

Sprint - from its parent company, Southern Pacific Railroad INTernal
Communications. Back in the day, pipelines and railroad tracks were the
cheapest place to lay communications lines, as the right-of-way was
already leased or owned.

Sun Microsystems - its founders designed their first workstation in
their dorm at StanfordUniversity, and chose the name Stanford University
Network for their product, hoping to sell it to the college. They didn't.

Suzuki - from the name of its founder, Michio Suzuki

Tesco - Founder Jack Cohen, who from 1919 sold groceries in the markets
of the London East End, acquired a large shipment of tea from T. E.
Stockwell and made new labels by using the first three letters of the
supplier's name and the first two letters of his surname forming the word

Toshiba - was founded by the merger of consumer goods company Tokyo
Denki (Tokyo Electric Co) and electrical firm Shibaura Seisaku-sho
(Shibaura Engineering Works).

Toyota - from the founder's name Sakichi Toyoda. Initially called
Toyeda, it was changed after a contest for a better-sounding name. The new
name was written in katakana with eight strokes, a number that is
considered lucky in Japan.

Unisys - made-up name for the company that resulted from the combination
of two old mainframe computer companies, Burroughs and Sperry [Sperry
Univac/Sperry Rand]. It "united" two incompatible ranges. Unisys was
briefly the world's second-largest computer company, after IBM.

Verizon - A portmanteau of veritas (Latin for truth) and horizon.

Vodafone - is a multinational mobile phone operator with headquarters in
the United Kingdom. Its name is made up of VOice, DAta, TeleFONE.
Vodafone made the UK's first mobile call at a few minutes past midnight on
the 1 January 1985.

Volvo - From the Latin word "volvo", which means "I roll". It was
originally a name for a ball bearing being developed by SKF.

Xerox - The inventor, Chestor Carlson, named his product trying to say
`dry' (as it was dry copying, markedly different from the then
prevailing wet copying). The Greek root `xer' means dry.

Yahoo! - a "backronym" for Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.
The word Yahoo was invented by Jonathan Swift and used in his book
Gulliver's Travels. It represents a person who is repulsive in appearance
action and is barely human. Yahoo! founders David Filo and Jerry Yang
selected the name because they jokingly considered themselves yahoos

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