14 Famous brands that started with different names

1.      GOOGLE

Previous Name: BackRub

The search engine got its present name in 1998, two years after it came into existence. Google, which is a play on the word “googol”, the mathematical term for the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros, was chosen by founders Larry Page and Serge Brin, as it reflects their purpose to organize an infinite amount of information on the web for all.

2.      NIKE

Previous Name: Blue Ribbon Sports

Founded in 1964 by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight, Blue Ribbon Sports was originally a distributor for the Japanese shoe maker Onitsuka Tiger. It officially became Nike Inc. in 1971, deriving its name from the Greek goddess of victory.

3.      PEPSI

Previous Name: Brad’s Drink

A North Carolina pharmacist Caleb Bradham introduced Brad’s Drink in 1893 after experimenting with several soft drink recipes. It was changed to Pepsi-Cola in 1898 and finally to just Pepsi in 1961.

4.      SONY

Previous Name: Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo

Started as a radio repair shop by Masaru Ibuka in 1946, Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo became Sony in 1958, a combination of the Latin word “sonus” (meaning sound and music) and “sonny,” American slang for boys.

5.      SUBWAY

Previous Name: Pete’s Super Submarines

Founded in 1965 by 17-year-old high-school graduate Fred DeLuca and his friend Dr. Peter Buck in Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S., Pete’s Super Submarines became Subway in 1968.

6.      AOL INC.

Previous Name: Quantum Computer Services

Founded as Quantum Computer Services in 1985, the company became America Online in 1991 and officially adopted its abbreviated name AOL in 2006.

7.      PLAYBOY

Previous Name: Stag Party

Founder Hugh Hefner intended to call his adult magazine Stag Party, until an unrelated magazine called “Stag” threatened legal action for trademark infringement. Eventually, Playboy was decided upon at the last minute.

8.      EBAY

Previous Name: AuctionWeb

Pierre Omidyar launched AuctionWeb in 1995. They officially changed their name in 1997, initially calling the company EchoBay.com after Omidyar’s consulting firm. After discovering that domain was already taken, they switched to the now familiar eBay.

9.      FIREFOX

Previous Name: Phoenix

Founded in 2002, the open-source web browser was renamed “Firebird” due to trademark issues with Phoenix Technologies. The new name, too, faced pressure from the existing Firebird database software project. The Mozilla Foundation finally settled on Mozilla Firefox, named after the nickname of the red panda, in 2004.


Previous Name: Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web

Founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo in 1994, the website was renamed Yahoo! – an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchically Organized Oracle” within a few months.

11. IBM

Previous Name: Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation

Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation was founded in 1911 and was renamed International Business Machines in 1924. Headquartered in New York, U.S., the company is commonly referred to by its acronym, IBM.


Previous Name: Research in Motion

Research in Motion, one of the first wireless data technology companies in North America, was founded in 1984. The founders announced the name change to Blackberry in 2013 with the purpose relaunching the declining brand.


Previous Name: Confinity

Confinity – an amalgamation of the words “confidence and infinity” – was formed in 1998 as a company that developed security software for handheld devices.


Previous Name: Starbucks Coffee, Tea and Spice

The coffee chain was called Starbucks Coffee, Tea and Spice for 12 years since its birth in 1971, until Howard Schultz, one of its employees, started his own coffeehouse chain called Giornale. In 1987, the owners sold the chain to Schultz, who re-branded his Giornale outlets into Starbucks.


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