Where did that company get its name?

Ebay1Just about everyone knows what IBM stands for, and Hewlett-Packard is named for its founders, but what about the more obscure origins of company names? This strangely enjoyable page on Wikipedia demystifies some offbeat corporate names like Apple Computer and also explains ones that may never have puzzled anyone but are still interesting, like Adidas and Cisco. (This being Wikipedia, we don’t vouch for the accuracy of all the listings, of course.) Check out the histories of Glock, Häagen-Dazs and Kinko’s. And finally! One that made no sense is explained (sort of): eBay was originally supposed to be called Echo Bay. Here’s the Wikipedia blurb: “ ‘It just sounded cool,’ founder Pierre Omidyar reportedly said. When he tried to register EchoBay.com, though, he found that Echo Bay Mines, a gold mining company, had gotten it first. So, Omidyar registered what (at the time) he thought was the second best name: eBay.com.” I still don’t get why that’s the name of an online auction site, but whatever floats the guy’s boat.

—Posted by Celeste Ward