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Businesses Google It's funny.  Laugh. Yahoo! Apple

How 6 Memorable Tech Companies Got Their Names 94

Posted by samzenpus
from the what's-in-a-name? dept.
itwbennett writes "If Larry Page and Sergey Brin had stuck with the first name for their search engine, we'd be 'BackRubbing' instead of Googling. But the fun doesn't stop there. The unforgettable Go Daddy was first saddled with the eminently Seussian moniker 'Jomax Technologies.' And as for Yahoo!... its original name just rolled off the tongue: 'Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web.'"
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How 6 Memorable Tech Companies Got Their Names

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  • Apple? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @04:41PM (#33514078)
    Sure, I probably need to RTFA, but I think maybe this is in apple.slashdot.org just because a quota needed filling.
    • After reading the full article, I agree
      • It is just me? after reading TFA I still don't know how Apple got its name.

        Best, and stupid, explanation: it just occurred to Jobs. It could have been Pear computer, or Orange computer, or any other fruit, vegetable,... bah..... the most boring article ever!
        • by c++0xFF (1758032)

          My understanding: Steve Jobs pulled the name from the same place he pulls everything else.

          For most people, the sun don't shine there ... but it must be a quite magical place for Jobs.

        • by KlaymenDK (713149)

          My best guess is that the name Apple was intended to be symbolic for "conveyor of insights" or something along those lines, hinting at the apple that hit Newton on the head.

          Here's an image of the "Apple I Operation Manual", which shows the pre-apple Apple logo.
          http://www.vintage.org/special/2003/apple-1/apple-1-manual.jpg [vintage.org]

          Later on, Jobs was thinking about a "bicycles for the mind" analogy.

        • by mcvos (645701)

          It is just me? after reading TFA I still don't know how Apple got its name.

          I do. Same as for most companies: one of the founders suggested it, and it stuck.

    • by Ksevio (865461)
      Well Apple is #2 on the list. Everyone knows that if there is any mention of Apple in an article it needs to be posted on /. and in the apple section.
    • by Beerdood (1451859)

      Sure, I probably need to RTFA, but I think maybe this is in apple.slashdot.org just because a quota needed filling.

      The great plains of slashdot were somewhat unstable this Wednesday afternoon. Just a little earlier [slashdot.org] the trolls, apple fanbois and apple haters were riled up and excited with a story on schools using iPads! "Moar Apple News!" they cried, yearning for another story on Apple.

      Lo and behold another story rose in the same day - only half an hour later - and it would indicate as to why Apple was named the way it was!! The fanbois drooled with excitement, knowing that the story would give a meaning explanat

    • by c++0xFF (1758032)

      Maybe this link [slashdot.org] is a bit better?

    • I proudly did not RTFA. I always kill the tab when ever I'm confronted with one of these damnable pages that hold a few lines of text and a small picture before you have to click next and wait ages while they refresh endless flash advertisments, tracking cookies and sling the sperm of satan onto your hard disk. Allowing marketing firms to grind your browsing speed to a halt and slowly entice you along with a trickling breadcrumb is not something I'm keen on supporting. Still this one is relatively short,
      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by mattack2 (1165421)

        I read it in one page fine with Safari Reader.

        • by mattack2 (1165421)

          How is that offtopic? I gave an example of how to read it in one page (besides the 'print' link, which doesn't exist on all pages that Reader works with).

  • by CarpetShark (865376) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @04:44PM (#33514142)

    If Larry Page and Sergey Brin had stuck with the first name for their search engine, we'd be 'BackRubbing' instead of Googling.

    No, we'd be using something else.

    • by pz (113803) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @04:53PM (#33514266) Journal

      If Larry Page and Sergey Brin had stuck with the first name for their search engine, we'd be 'BackRubbing' instead of Googling.

      No, we'd be using something else.

      Quite likely AltaVista.

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        Because AltaVista is such an easy turn of phrase, it rolls right off the tongue, right?

        That was my preferred engine for quite some time. I could barely type it, just now, and have to verbalize to remember the proper spelling.

      • by dkf (304284)

        Quite likely AltaVista.

        No. Google's search offering back then was enormously better than what went before. (For comparison, AV was just a random pile of perhaps-relevant stuff, and Yahoo was wildly incomplete for everything I tended to search for back then.) It would have needed a very bad name indeed to have persuaded me to use something else.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by StikyPad (445176)

      No, we'd be using something else.

      Doubtful.. names don't seem to help or hurt at all. Few people knew what a googol was before Google, and most people probably still don't.

      Of course, if the name BackRub had been selected, we'd all be "rubbing one out" right now and talking about the new InstaRub feature.

      So... pretty much no change at all.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Names don't make much of a difference if they are pronounceable and don't have unintended second meanings.

        If it were called Akfarlopagop, I'd get tired of typing that and feel like an idiot when trying to tell someone about it....and they would likely misspell it. And it's not like they can use google to look up Akfarlopagop because....google would be it.

        Or if it were called Smallwinky. You should smallwinky that. Let me smallwinky that for you.

        Names make a difference, it's just really hard to notice it

        • That reminds me of that so-called Google-killer search engine that was launched a year or so ago by some ex-Google people, of which the name escapes me as it was some obscure unpronounceable Irish word. No idea whether it's still online.
        • by tehcyder (746570)
          Hah, smallwinky isn't even in my dictionary.
      • As Shakespeare wrote:
        "What's in a name? That which we call a rose
        By any other name would smell..."
        • One might note that the character saying that, and the one she was telling it to, both wind up dead by the end of the play because in the end, they *weren't* able to escape their names.

  • Jomax! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @04:50PM (#33514200)

    The unforgettable Go Daddy was first saddled with the eminently Seussian moniker 'Jomax Technologies.'

    Why didn't they use that? That's a way better name. I can't stand the name "Go Daddy". It's reason enough not to deal with them (although there are plenty of others).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It would be called 127.0.0.1

  • by LinuxGrrl (123916) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @04:56PM (#33514312) Homepage

    Aw damn I had it told to me that the origin of "Apple" and specifically its logo was a coded reference/tribute to Alan Turing and his chosen method of suicide... Especially seeing as originally it was in rainbow colours...

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Nerdfest (867930)
      I always thought it alluded to it sucking you in with the shiny sweetness, but quietly unleashing evil lock-down and a walled garden. Maybe I'm reading too much into it.
    • by PCM2 (4486) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @05:18PM (#33514578) Homepage

      It's a reference to how you start out in a walled garden, but they kick you out as soon as you do something they don't like, even though you never understood the rules.

      • I'm assuming this is some form of verbal jousting and I found that amusing, however if it is not do recall that Wozniak was the other half of the original founders. Wozniak is a geek, nerd, or whatever term you wish to describe most of us here at heart, though not much of a business man. I've always understood why people liked him and what Apple did whilst he had some say so, never understood why they like Jobs and his Apple. Jobs is every bit (and IMO more so) ruthless as Gates is, he just is better at mar

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by acid06 (917409)

        This post should be modded Insightful, not Funny.
        Brilliant, sir.

  • by PmanAce (1679902)
    Saying "Let me google that" when wanting to look up something just doesn't have the same ring to it if instead we said:

    "Let me BackRub that"...on second thought, maybe I would get more action with my female colleagues...
  • one page version (Score:4, Informative)

    by Aoet_325 (1396661) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @05:03PM (#33514394)
    http://www.itworld.com/print/119860 [itworld.com]

    Can articles please link to these by default already?

    • by tsahi (1798230)
      The print version may be easy to read, but it denies the site from the ads that allow it to finance the bandwidth /. consumes. It will also hide links to other sections of the site you might be interested at, so your experience would be diminished.
  • by dclozier (1002772) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @05:06PM (#33514416)
    Rub one out would have a whole new meaning for ./
    • by dclozier (1002772)
      Make that /. (we really could use a minute or two edit window here!)
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by sharkey (16670)
        Or a function that allows you to look over your post before submitting it. A "Preview", as it were.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "Just fucking google it" becomes "Just fucking backrub it", or "Just fucking rub it". I dunno, that last one isn't too bad.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Let me BackRub that for you.

  • by perpenso (1613749) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @05:30PM (#33514748)
    1. Register a domain. The most difficult step.
    2. Check for trademarks yourself.
    3. Pay an attorney to check for trademarks. They will find conflicts that you never imagined and that you disagree with, however they understand the trademark office better than you.
    4. Now create that s-corp, llc, etc.

    and of course it has to be added:

    5. ?
    6. Profit!
    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      Sadly, that's true - especially for technology related stuff.

      * Anything with "-soft" in it? yeah, no. Not only are they all taken, but they suck.
      * Anything not really long? Already taken.
      * Two or three common words, or variations thereof? Taken.
      * Greek names, etc.? Mostly taken.

      Unless you're naming the company after yourself, and you've got a long German name, good luck.

  • by retardpicnic (1762292) <retardpicnic@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @06:28PM (#33515180)

    HOMER
    Oh, what am I gonna call my Internet company? All the good names are taken. Oh wait, I've got it! Flancrest Enterprises! (looks in a book) D'oh!

    MARGE
    What exactly is it your company does again?

    HOMER
    This industry moves so fast it's really hard to tell. That's why I need a name that's cutting-edge, like CutCo, EdgeCom, InterSlice... come on, Marge, you're good at these! Help me out!

    MARGE
    How about... CompuGlobalHyperMegaNet?

    HOMER
    Fine, it's not important... What really matters is my title. I think I'll make myself... vice president. (excitedly) No, wait! Junior vice president!

    The phone rings, and Homer answers it.

    HOMER
    CompuGlobalHyperMegaNet, junior vice president Homer Simpson speaking, how may I direct your call? (disappointedly) It's Patty.

    Homer hands the phone to Marge.

  • Asus (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AfroTrance (984230) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @07:17PM (#33515502)
    Do people pronounce this 'a-suhs' or 'a-zoos'? I pronounce it the first way. I've heard people use the second way. If it is from 'Pegasus', then the first way would be correct.
    • by mattack2 (1165421)

      I pronounce it "ay-suhs", which I think is similar to what you mean by "a-suhs". But from Pegasus, it would really be "uh-suhs".

    • by shermo (1284310)

      I (used to) pronounce it ay-suhs, but now that you suggest it I'm going to call it a-suhs whenever I get the chance. Preferably in polite company,

    • Frankly I do something in between - "A-soos". In their adds I've heard it said both ways so I went back to how I said it from the beginning, which I have also heard in their adds. Given that I rather suspect that they prefer to pander to every way one can say it and do so.

    • by lj73 (1896988)

      If they were from Pegasus, they would already have been culled by the Wraith.

    • by Inda (580031)
      The adverts all say Ay-Sus.
    • by thygrrr (765730)

      aaaah-zoos.

      I'm German. :-)

  • Atari (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ArcadeNut (85398) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @07:33PM (#33515622) Homepage

    They were originally going to be called " Syzygy".

    Talk about dodging a bullet...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari [wikipedia.org]

    • That's almost too bad. Syzygy is such a cool word. (And I almost got a chance to play it in Scrabble once. I had all the right letters, but my uncle decided to use the S on the board for something else.)
  • Soroc (Score:2, Interesting)

    Soroc Technologies was an early intelligent (well, ok, dumb) terminal company, started back in 1981. Well, they were smart enough to put the cursor where you wanted and do a few other tricks. Anyway, the name came from a night of drinking beer and trying to think up a new company name. They were drinking Coors at the time, and decided that an anagram of Coors would fit the bill. The company still exists, see www.soroc.com, and check out the company logo. Yes, it is the top of the beer can.

    This was r
  • Microsoft (Score:5, Funny)

    by fearlezz (594718) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @08:14PM (#33515848) Homepage

    I heard "Microsoft" was suggested by bill gates' first girlfriend... in bed.

  • Bing! The sound you here when you finally get it... 10 years late.
  • I always thought the Yahoo, or Yay-hoo, name came from Gulliver's travels. As far as a website name goes, it beats the hell out of Houyhnhnm.com.

  • The President of Yahoo at the time was Tim Koogle.
  • FTFA:

    According to Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Jobs spouted out the name while the two were driving along Highway 85 outside of Palo Alto. Woz tells the tale in the 2004 book Apple Confidential 2.0:

    Steve was still half-involved with a group of friends who ran the commune-type All-One Farm in Oregon. And he would go up and work there for a few months before returning to the Bay Area. He had just come back from one of his trips and we were driving along and he said, "I've got a great name: Apple Computer."

    • by xded (1046894)

      Well, actually in 2006 Woz's autobiography he recalls that:

      About this time, Jobs suggested that he and Wozniak start a company. Wozniak was never interested in being an entrepreneur, feeling that such would detract from his role as an engineer. However, Jobs convinced him it would be something they could look back on and be proud of, even if it failed. Shortly after this, and toying with several names, he and Jobs settled on "Apple," after Jobs visit to a commune with a similar name.

      (Excerpt is taken from

  • ... because the name they really wanted [bigdaddy.com] was already taken.

    Hehe...

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