I came across an old mail containing some interesting details on how some of the famous companies got their names. I cannot vouch for the authenticity of these details, but they do look very much believable.

I already hear someone saying “What’s in a name?”!


Origin of Famous Company Names


It was the favorite fruit of founder Steve Jobs. He was three months late in filing a name for the business, and he threatened to call his company Apple Computers if the other colleagues didn’t suggest a better name by 5 O’clock! Good that his favorite fruit wasn’t a WATERMELON!


It is not an acronym as popularly believed. It is short for San Francisco.


This name was formed by using COMP, for computer, and PAQ to denote a small integral object.


The name was derived from the founder’s name Dr. Michael Cowpland. It stands for COwpland Research Laboratory.


The name started as a joke boasting about the amount of information the search-engine would be able to search. It was originally named ‘Googol’, a word for the number represented by 1 followed by 100 zeros. After founders- Stanford graduate students Sergey Brin and Larry Page presented their project to an angel investor, they received a cheque made out to ‘Google’


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 programming language used to write web pages. It was initially referred to as HoTMaiL with selective uppercasing.


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


Bob Noyce and Gordon Moore wanted to name their new company ‘Moore Noyce’but that was already trademarked by a hotel chain so they had to settle for an acronym of INTegrated ELectronics.


Mitch Kapoor got the name for his company from ‘The Lotus Position’ or ‘Padmasana’. Kapoor used to be a teacher of Transcendental Meditation of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.


Coined by Bill Gates to represent the company that was devoted to MICROcomputer SOFTware. Originally christened Micro-Soft, the ‘-’ was removed later on.


Founder Paul Galvin came up with this name when his company started manufacturing radios for cars. The popular radio company at the time was called Victrola.


Larry Ellison and Bob Oats were working on a consulting project for the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). The code name for the project was called Oracle (the CIA saw this as the system to give answers to all questions or something such). The project was designed to help use the newly written SQL code by IBM. The project eventually was terminated but Larry and Bob decided to finish what they started and bring it to the world. They kept the name Oracle and created the RDBMS engine. Later they kept the same name for the company.

13. SONY

It originated from the Latin word ’sonus’ meaning sound, and ’sonny’ a slang used by Americans to refer to a bright youngster.

14. SUN

Founded by 4 Stanford University buddies, SUN is the acronym for Stanford University Network. Andreas Bechtolsheim built a microcomputer; Vinod Khosla recruited him and Scott McNealy to manufacture computers based on it, and Bill Joy to develop a UNIX-based OS for the computer.

15. YAHOO!

The word was invented by Jonathan Swift and used in his book ‘Gulliver’s Travels’. It represents a person who is repulsive in appearance and action and is barely human. Yahoo! Founders Jerry Yang and David Filo selected the name because they considered themselves yahoos.


This was actually the financier’s daughter’s name.


This came from name of the river Adobe Creek that ran behind the house of founder John Warnock.


This name came after hours of research by founder Raju PP, “PP” being his nickname, quiet weird name for a technology blog. If you are still reading this, I am sure you are free enough to share this post on Twitter or Facebook or any other social networking/bookmarking site, isn’t it?!

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Raju is the founder-editor of Technology Personalized. A proud geek and an Internet freak, who is also a social networking enthusiast. You can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter. Mail Raju PP. Follow rajupp