The corporate world is increasingly facing raging capitalism and cut-throat competition. A handful of multinational companies control a prominent part of the world’s economy. Unknown to us, these brands have become a major part of our lives and have made their presence felt worldwide. These brands attract potential customers by providing attractive discounts and employing innovative marketing strategies. Every brand has its interesting backstory and certainly lesser-known facts. We have compiled a list of top ten unknown facts about famous brands that everyone should know about.
1. In 2002, Fujitsu made a device called the “iPad,” and Apple had to pay $4 million to Fujitsu to buy the trademark rights.
The term “iPad” is synonymous with the tech giant Apple. However, before the product was officially launched, the iconic name was held by Fujitsu. In 2002, Japanese tech giant Fujitsu released its own version of the iPad, a handheld device. The lightweight device was used for facilitating inventory management and credit card payments. The device comprised of an Intel processor and a Microsoft operating system. Moreover, the versatile device supported both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
In 2010, when Apple decided to launch its signature device, they were caught amidst a naming controversy. Fujitsu accused Apple of stealing its product name and threatened to sue the company. To settle the allegations, Apple purchased the trademark rights from Fujitsu for a whopping $4 million. The rest is history as Apple’s iPad became a signature line of tablet computers. (source)
2. “Backrub” was actually one of the earliest names for Google back in the mid-1990s when its core function was to analyze backlinks on the web.
Google needs no formal introduction since it is the most widely used search engine in the world. It was launched in 1998 by a pair of Stanford University students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. During the initial stages, the pair was working on a computer program named “Backrub.” The quirkily named computer program was actually a search engine that was used for backlink analysis – tracking and recording data on the Internet.
The name “Backrub” was derived from a series of algorithms that were used for calculating ranks from the backlinks generated from a particular webpage. The search engine gained immense popularity. In 1999, Brin and Page opened their maiden office in a garage owned by Susan Wojcicki in California. In an interesting turn of events, the name “Google” is a mathematical play on the term “googol” – denoting number one followed by 100 zeros. (1, 2)
3. Pepsi was introduced as “Brad’s Drink” by Caleb Bradham who made and sold it at his drugstore. It was renamed “Pepsi Cola” in 1898 after the digestive enzyme pepsin and kola nuts used in the recipe.
One of America’s largest food and beverage company, PepsiCo, has an interesting backstory. Pepsi was created in 1893 by Caleb Bradham, a pharmacist hoping to duplicate the taste of Coca-Cola. He introduced his creation as “Brad’s Drink” and sold it at his drugstore. The drink was made from a mix of water, sugar, caramel, lemon oil, nutmeg and various natural additives such as kola nuts. The drink became an overnight sensation. In 1898, Bradham christened it as “Pepsi-Cola.”
The pharmacist believed that the concoction was more than a refreshing drink but a “healthy” cola. He strongly believed that the cola was crucial in aiding digestion. Ironically, the name “Pepsi” is derived from the word pepsin, an enzyme that breaks down protein into smaller peptides to aid digestion. The drink was initially sold in syrup bottles, and due to its increasing popularity, it was soon sold in glass bottles. (1, 2)
4. The first product developed by the tech giant SONY was an electric rice-cooker made of aluminum electrodes and a wooden bucket.
Sony, a multinational conglomerate, is famous for its electronic goods and is a key player in the market. However, the company had a humble beginning in 1945 when it was founded by a defense contractor named Masaru Ibuka. The first product created by its founder was not a fancy electronic gadget but a humble rice-cooker. The rice-cooker was released under the company name “Tokyo Telecommunications Research Institute.”
The electric rice-cooker was created by interlocking a pair of aluminum electrodes that were attached to a simple, wooden tub. The product was considered to be a failure as the end product relied heavily on the quality of rice and the quantity of water. The product consistently produced mostly undercooked or overcooked rice. Since the product was considered a failure, it was never released in the market. (1, 2)
5. Samsung originally sold dry fish, vegetables, and noodles. It wasn’t until 1970 that they started selling electronics.
Over the decades, Samsung has become a household name by manufacturing a range of products. The world’s second largest tech company had a humble beginning in 1938. The conglomerate was founded by Byung-Chull Lee, a local businessman in South Korea. The company started out by selling exported goods such as Korean dry fish, flour, noodles, vegetables, and a variety of local produce to China.
The company was instrumental in propelling the nation’s economy by reviving industrialization after the Korean War. Around the 1950s, the company branched out to other business ventures such as insurance and textiles. Later, in 1970, the company released its first black-and-white TV into the market. After its successful venture, the company started manufacturing household appliances and electronic gadgets. (1, 2)