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'So, that's why it's called Bluetooth!' and other surprising tech name origins

Evan Dashevsky | Nov. 11, 2013
The hidden, and occasionally accidental, history of common tech brand names.

Though they originally matter-of-factly dubbed their service "Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web," the pair eventually decided on the fun exclamation-enlivened brand "Yahoo!"--which was bacronymed to encompass "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle" (the full name lacking an exclamation point, for some reason).

According to Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography, the largest electronics firm in the world picked up its name in the most casual of ways.

As Jobs and Wozniak were mulling over a name for their nascent company, Jobs had just returned from a visit to a communal apple farm. Off the cuff, he proposed the name "Apple Computer." The term, he explained to Isaacson "sounded fun, spirited, and not intimidating. Apple took the edge off the word computer.' Plus, it would get us ahead of Atari in the phonebook."

Once again, that phonebook was a big deal. Which might also explain why Google finds multiple companies answering to the name Aardvark Electronics.

An end to nonsense names?
The past decade of tech names has been an unimpressive mess of language. Arguably, the biggest contributor to the disarray has been the dearth of available dot-com domain names.

Perhaps the new-released bounty of top-level domain names will shake things up. Perhaps companies will take advantage of their new freedom of URL and begin to veer away from the plague of nonsense.


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