Facebook Inc., which owns the social network as well as Instagram, WhatsApp, and other initiatives, has changed its name to Meta Platforms, capping off a tumultuous week. The announcement was made by its CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the company’s 2021 Connect event.
According to the company, “Meta’s focus will be to bring the metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities and grow businesses.”
However, Zuckerberg’s company—which is probably facing the biggest crisis in its history, along with the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal—is not the first company to undergo rebranding.
Here is a look at some famous companies that changed their name in the recent past.
Burbn - Instagram
Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger dubbed the photo-sharing app Burbn before selling it to social media behemoth Facebook Inc—now known as Meta. Burbn was created with the intention of allowing iPhone users to share their location, receive points for check-ins, and share post-event photos.
However, initially due to a variety of perplexing in-app features, the app failed to succeed. The app was subsequently altered multiple times before the founders decided to focus on the photo sharing part and built what we now know as Instagram.
BackRub - Google - Alphabet
Under the name "BackRub," the world's most popular search engine was launched in 1996.
Later, in 1998, founders Larry Page and Serge Brin rebranded their company and technology as Google. It's a play on the word 'googol', which is a mathematical term for the number 1 followed by 100 zeros.
According to Google, the word reflects their ambition to organise an ostensibly unlimited amount of information on the internet. Later in 2015, Google abruptly renamed itself Alphabet.
Apple Computers - Apple, Inc.
Apple Computers was the name given to the tech behemoth by Steve Jobs, Ronald Wayne, and Steve Wozniak when it was founded in 1976.
Jobs indicated in 2007 that the company would delete the word "computer" from its name to better represent its expansion into the consumer electronics market.
He said “The Mac, iPod, Apple TV and iPhone. Only one of those is a computer. So we’re changing the name.”
Research in Motion – Blackberry
Research in Motion was the first wireless data technology developer in North America, founded in 1984.
In an effort to resuscitate the fading brand, the firm announced in January 2013 that it will change its name to BlackBerry, after the well-known smartphone device.
Its former CEO, Thorsten Heins said: "RIM created the first BlackBerry smartphone and changed the way millions of people around the world stay connected. We have used that same ingenuity and innovation to redefine mobile computing with BlackBerry 10. As we launch BlackBerry 10 around the world, now is the right time to adopt the iconic BlackBerry name."
Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo – Sony
Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo was established in 1946 as a radio repair company and was responsible for Japan's first transistor radio in 1955 and the world's first transistor television in 1960.
In 1958, the corporation was renamed Sony Corporation.
Jerry and David’s guide to the world wide web – Yahoo!
In early 1994, Jerry Yang and David Filo, two Stanford graduate students, created "Jerry and David's guide to the world wide web," a website that catalogues websites.
Later in the same year, they renamed the website to ‘Yahoo’, which stands for Yet Another Hierarchically Organized Oracle—as it was divided into categories and subcategories.
Odeo – Twitter
Twitter started its journey in 2006 when the San Francisco-based podcasting firm Odeo recognised the need to reinvent itself and began brainstorming new innovative concepts.
Jack Dorsey proposed the creation of an SMS (short message service, such as texting) that would allow a user to connect with a limited group of individuals.
Relentless – Amazon
If you go to a website called "relentless.com" it will take you to Amazon.com. This is because Jeff Bezos named his online bookstore Relentless rather than Amazon initially.
Since he still owns the domain name, it leads to the site of the e-commerce behemoth.
AuctionWeb – eBay
eBay now facilitates consumer-to-consumer and business-to-consumer purchases.
It was originally known as AuctionWeb when Pierre Omidyar launched it in 1995. After Echo Bay Technology Group, Omidyar's consultancy firm, the company was renamed eBay in September 1997.
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