Wednesday, 14 October 2009

How some Tech Companies Got Their Names


The word Microsoft is derived from the words Microcomputer and Software and it has an interesting history. Bill Gates used the word Micro-Soft in a letter he wrote to Paul Allen, the other co-founder of this company on November 29, 1975 and they later registered this company in this name on November 26, 1976. The hyphen was eventually removed and it came to be known from then on as Microsoft.


This company started as Galvin Manufacturing Corporation in 1928 in Chicago, Illinois, manufacturing battery eliminators. Founder Paul Galvin came up with the name Motorola when this company started manufacturing radios for cars in 1930. The name is a combination of the word "motor" and "Victrola", which was a popular radio company at the time.


Larry Ellison and Bob Oats were working on a consulting project for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) while at Ampex Corporation. The code name for the project was called Oracle, because the CIA saw this as something like a system to give answers to all questions much like the mythical Oracles of the ancient world.

Red Hat

This Linux distro that released in 1994 has an interesting history. Marc Ewing, who created this distro had been given the Cornell lacrosse team cap (with red and white stripes) while at college by his grandfather. However, he lost it and despite looking for it did not find it. The information is revealed in the manual of the beta version of Red Hat Linux, which had an appeal to readers to return his Red Hat if found by anyone. Interesting, isn't it?


SAP is an acronym for "Systems, Applications, Products in Data Processing" and was formed by four ex-IBM employees who used to work in the 'Systems/Applications/Projects' group of IBM.


Formerly known as Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo K.K., the co-founder of this company, Akio Morita realized that Americans had difficulty pronouncing this name while on a business trip to the US. He therefore tried to find a Romanized name for this company, which would be appealing to Americans and would also embody the spirit of the company. After trying out different names, they arrived at a decision to use "Sony" as the name. This word has been derived from the Latin word Sonus meaning sound, and Sonny a slang used by Americans to refer to a bright youngster. They chose this word as this did not exist in any other language. Another theory suggests that the name was derived from the word Sun, because Japan is known as the Land of the Rising Sun and also the place of origin of this company.

Sun Microsystems

Stanford University graduate Andy Bechtolsheim designed what would become the first Unix workstation by Sun Microsystems, known as Sun 1 workstation for a project as a personal CAD workstation. The name SUN is an acronym of Stanford University Network that got stuck to the company from then on and Andy Bechtolsheim was one of the four founders.


This company started as The Haloid Company in Rochester in 1906 when it manufactured photographic paper and equipment. It later changed its name to Haloid Xerox in 1958 and then dropped Haloid to become simply known as Xerox in 1961. The word Xerox has its roots in the Greek language, where "xer" means dry. Chestor Carlson, the inventor of dry copying named it thus to emphasize the fact that this process was dry and different from the prevailing wet copying method.