Apple Computer, Inc., humbly founded in 1976, now ranks twelfth on the 2015 list of the world’s biggest public companies (compiled by Forbes). But naming a company after a piece of fruit is actually pretty strange.
In fact it begs the question: how has the company’s name affected it’s success? More specifically, did blind luck, relentless ambition and/or prudent planning impact the way Apple’s name influenced the company’s accomplishments, fortune and, importantly, it’s image? Even more specifically, would (or could) Apple still be adored by hordes of fans if it had been named after another type of fruit, like, say, a banana? No, really. Would Banana Computer, Inc. have been as successful and as cool as Apple Computer, Inc.?
On the surface these questions might be easily dismissed as trivial, but if you dig a bit deeper they are actually quite interesting (not to mention kind of fun to think about). Perhaps thinking them over may change the perspective of entrepreneurs struggling with the task of choosing a name for their company.
Next stop? Rabbit hole.
Comparing Apples To Bananas…
My gut reaction is that a company named Banana would never become famous enough to make a dent in the universe. But, and this is a big but (because I like big buts and I cannot lie), what if we weren’t talking about just any random computer company?
What if we were talking about the very same computer company we know today as Apple — down to the last molecule? What if that company with all of it’s svelte aluminum, obsessive thinness, Force Touch, Siri, Retina displays and especially Sir Jony Ive, Tim Cook and other essential executives — what if THAT company was, in fact, named Banana? Would you buy a Banana iPad or a Banana Watch? Would anybody? Would Banana be equal to Apple?
Let’s take a look at both sides of the argument.
The Argument For
Clearly the word apple has nothing to do with computers. That’s one of the reasons why Steve Jobs liked it (after fiddling around with names like Executex and Matrix Electronics). On an elementary level, bananas also happen to be types of fruit that have nothing to do with computers. That being the case, why couldn’t the Steves Jobs and Wozniak have struck upon the same level of success under the name and symbolism of another fruit?
Well, for one ...