11 True Stories Behind Tech's Top Names

Yahoo is actually an acronym for "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle." But according to the company, the team chose the name for its definition: "rude, unsophisticated, uncouth."

6. Adobe

Adobe founders John Warnock and Chuck Geschke were working for Xerox during the late 70s and early 80s, and living in Los Altos, CA, and Adobe Creek just happens run through the town.

According to the creek's Wikipedia page, it was named for the nearby house of a 19th Century governor. So, at least in some sense, the company was named for the building material.

7. BlackBerry

Despite popular belief, the way that the buttons look a bit like the seeds of a berry wasn't taken into account. The name BlackBerry was purely a marketing decision. The communications team offered up this explanation in an e-mail:

"RIM wanted a name that would be distinctive, memorable and fun and that would work well internationally and appeal to a wide range of customers. RIM decided to go with a connotative word for the brand name rather than a descriptive or invented word."

Nintendo Is Company Name and Motto All in One

8. Apple

Apple has no official story, which means that you can take your pick of the following rumors:

Steve Jobs used to work at a California or Oregon apple farm during the summer. He grew to really appreciate apples. Steve Jobs really liked the Beatles. Steve Jobs was three months late filing a name for the business, and he threatened to call his company Apple Computers if his colleagues didn't suggest a better name by 5 p.m. Steve Jobs wanted to distance the company from the cold, unapproachable, complicated imagery created by other computer companies at the time. You probably have your own theories, so let us know in the comments below.

9. Zappos

Zappos was originally named ShoeSite.com when it was founded in 1999. This posed a bit of a problem when it wanted to start selling more than just shoes. While still quite fond of shoes, the team didn't abandon the theme entirely. They decided on a variation of the word "shoes" in Spanish. Thus "zapatos" was converted to Zappos for the company name.

10. Nintendo

The three words "Nin" "ten" "do" is Japanese for "we do all that we can, as best as we can, and await the results." Nintendo is sort of a motto and company name all in one. Who knew that the gaming giant was so poetic?

11. Aardvarck

Today, Aardvark has a sleek website where users can type or e-mail their questions to be answered by the appropriate people in their own social networks. But co-founder Max Ventilla's idea began as a chat buddy that could intermediate conversations with people you know online.

There were advantages to having this name at the top of the buddy list, a spot which was occupied on Ventilla's buddy roster by his friend Aaron. Alphabetically speaking, there aren't many options that trump Aaron. "Aardvark" is one of the few names that could shoulder him out.

Other factors the name had going for it were its ability to conjugate into the invented active verb "vark," and being an animal that people recognized but typically didn't have strong associations with.

"We also felt that an animal had the right positioning as helpful but not perfect," said Ventilla in an e-mail. "If we chose a human or a robot mascot people would spend their time trying to make it look stupid, but they'd cut an animal more slack."

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