How 13 Big Tech Firms Got Their Names

From the improbable to the top secret, it takes all kinds
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2010 11:33 AM CDT
How 13 Big Tech Firms Got Their Names
A sign designates the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California.   (AP Photo)

The Business Insider figures you've also wanted to know how your favorite high tech concern got its name. Well, you're in luck! Here goes:

  1. SUN Microsystems: It's actually an acronym for Stanford University Network, the school where the founders met.
  2. Cisco: Actually not an acronym, as often assumed. It's just San Francisco without the San Fran, which is why the "c" was not capitalized originally.

  1. Apple: The company was late in filing for a name and trademark, and Steve Jobs issued an ultimatum: Come up with something better than Apple. No dice.
  2. Microsoft: Makes MICROcomputer SOFTware. It's Bill Gates; what did you expect?
  3. Oracle: The company grew out of a CIA project codenamed "Oracle" that was ditched. The founders took the name and ran.
  4. Sony: "Doesn't mean anything in Japanese, and there is no Mr Sony." Founder Akio Morita was just trying not to alienate foreign customers. His pick comes from "sonus," Latin for sound, mashed with the popular expression "sonny boy."
  5. Google: The founders had settled on "googol," a one with 100 zeroes after it, to signify their ambitions. But an early investor (one of those SUN guys, again) wrote "Google" on a check. So they changed the name so they could cash it.
For more improbably stories, and some probable ones (HP), click here. (More Sun Microsystems stories.)

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