Where These Companies Got Their Names From – Part 2

There’s a story behind everything, especially the big brand names that we use so often in our day to day lives. So, wouldn’t it be interesting to know the stories behind the famous brand names to fill in your own knowledge gap or just to be Mr. know-it-all among your friends?

Previously, I did the first part of this post and covered a long list of companies with interesting origins of their names. And so, this post is a continuation of that list with more famous brands. Read through the following write-up to get the idea.

Where These Companies Got Their Names From – Part 1

Where These Companies Got Their Names From – Part 1

World-famous companies with the origin of their names and the ideas behind their establishment Read more

Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard was formed in 2007 by the merger of two gaming giants – Activision Publishing, Inc. and Vivendi Games. At the time of the merger, Vivendi was best known for its game studios – Sierra Entertainment and Blizzard Entertainment.

The name “Activision Blizzard” was inspired by the names of the first company and one of the best game studios of Vivendi.

Activision Blizzard logo


Asus got its name from the Greek mythology taking the last four letters of the word “Pegasus”, which is the mythological Horse God and the son of Poseidon that can fly. Thus “Asus”.

Asus logo


The origin of the name “AT&T” is pretty straightforward and simply stands for “American Telephone and Telegraph Company”, which defines the company’s purpose of being the telecommunications company of the US.

AT&T logo


Baidu was picked off the last line of an 800-year old classical Chinese poem which ended with the poet finding the woman he had been searching high and low for.

Literally, it is translated as hundreds of times, but in context, it meant a persistent search, for the ideal.

Baidu logo


The site was a place for deviants to play with their creativity, producing deviations of artwork.

Deviantart logo


Interestingly, eBay was supposed to be a much longer name: Echo Bay Technology Group. After being shortened to Echo Bay, the founder had to change it to eBay.com because, you guessed it, EchoBay was already taken by the famous consulting firm.

eBay logo


The founder of Expedia, Richard Barton, decided to go ahead with the name “Expedia” after combining two words – “exploration” and “speed” – to define the purpose of his online travel company in its name. The name was also chosen because of the low price for its domain.

In his words, “Expedia = Exploration and Speed, a high point Scrabble letter (X) and a $9.99 URL”.

Expedia logo


Foursquare’s founder wanted a fun and playful name. He wasn’t kidding. His first attempt at social networking was called Dodgeball.

Foursquare logo


In 1984, the company was started as “Legend”. It was not until 2002 that the company’s CEO – Yang Yuanqing – felt the need to expand the business globally.

With the plan to release its brand of computer line, he took “Le” from “Legend” and translated the word “new” to “novo” (in Latin) to come up with the name “Lenovo”, which the company was named as, in 2003.

Lenovo logo


Mitch Kapor got the name for his company from the lotus position or ‘padmasana’. Kapor used to be a teacher of Transcendental Meditation of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Lotus logo


The Japan-based video game giant was initially established as a company that manufactured playing cards. The word “Nintendo” is inspired from the Japanese word “Nintendou” consisting “nin” and “ten-dou” that translates to “entrusted” and “heaven” in English, which convey “leave luck to heaven”.

Nintendo logo


When Fredrik Idestam, a Finnish Engineer and the founder of Nokia, was finding opportunity after setting up his first wood pulp industry, he opened a second mill on the Nokianvirta River. It inspired him to name his company as “Nokia AB”, which later became the bestselling phone manufacturer.

Nokia logo


It rhymed with book. Yup.

Nook logo


The company derives the word “Nvidia” from “invidia”, which means “envy” in Latin. The branding of the company intends to envy those who do not own a Nvidia product. That is why its logo is an eye in the green color.

Nvidia logo

Red Hat

Company founder Marc Ewing was given the Cornell lacrosse team cap (with red and white stripes) while at college by his grandfather. He lost it 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!

Red Hat logo


Samsung is a Korea-based company, and in the Korean hanja language “Samsung” translates to the “tri-star” or “three stars”. The word “three” signifies something “big, numerous and powerful”, meaning the company’s name signifies its plan to grow enormously, as we witness now.

Samsung logo


Square was Squirrel until its founder saw a POS system by a company called Squirrel System at the Apple cafeteria where he had lunch in. Square was chosen as the card readers were in that shape, plus it referred to cleared payments — Are we square?

Square logo

Sun Microsystems

Founded by four Stanford University buddies, Sun is the acronym for Stanford University Network.

Sun Microsystems logo


When the founders noticed a shift from blogging to tumblelogs: shorter posts bearing mixed media, they were inspired to call their platform Tumblr.

Tumblr logo


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.

Xerox logo


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.

Yahoo! logo


Zynga is responsible for bringing games like Farmville, Draw Something, and Zynga Poker to the market. The name, interestingly, ties back to the founder Mark Pincus’ pet dog, which also makes it to the brand’s logo.

Zynga logo