A week or so ago, Sun Microsystems changed their stock exchange name to Java in an attempt to perk up their corporate listing. But Sun has always been an interesting name because (a) it is such a common word, (b) the founders claimed it was short for Stanford University Network originally, and (c) it is such a difficult name to own and protect.
Even when Sun was founded, there was already a Sun Moon Star computers in Los Angeles. And many other Sun names especially in Asia. So even the State of California had them add the stupid moniker Microsystems. Lucikly we all just called them Sun and ignored fact they have seldom done anything micro like, except design a few chips.
But along the way, a small R&D group was working on a computer language that had the long-awaited appeal of write once, run anywhere. This was called Oak originally, based on the tree outside their office window (very creative!). When that sounded old and stodgy, they changed the name to Green. Maybe it was springtime! But when Kim Polese showed up as product manager, it was renamed Java. Oh the magic when a marketer knows what they are doing – and gets her way. No changes needed from engineering except to change all the name references. And a whole new world opened up.
The rest they say is history… except it is not over yet. The original power of Sun workstations was simply the fact that they took existing technologies and properly integrated and commercialized them. Now many others have figured that out.
Java, on the other hand, was unique and different and original research. One day, that is what they will be most known for, and the child will be more famous than the parent, and the company itself will be renamed Java!