Monthly Archives: May 2012

Some Recognizable Iconic Brands, Their Names and Logos – Firmoo, Sharp, 3M, eBay, and Amazon (7th of a series)

Electronics and Online Shopping, correlated?  Yes, of course!

Electronics is the branch of physics, engineering and technology dealing with electrical circuits that involve active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies.

Today’s electronics engineers have the ability to design circuits using pre-manufactured building blocks such as power supplies, semiconductors such as transistors, and integrated circuits. Electronic design automation software programs include schematic capture programs and printed circuit board design programs. Popular names in the EDA software world are NI Multisim, Cadence (ORCAD), Eagle PCB and Schematic, Mentor (PADS PCB and LOGIC Schematic), Altium (Protel), LabCentre Electronics (Proteus), gEDA, KiCad and many others.

ON THE OTHER HAND, online shopping or online retailing is a form of electronic commerce, whereby consumers directly buy goods or services from a seller over the Internet without an intermediary service. An online shop, eshop, e-store, Internet shop, webshop, webstore, online store, or virtual store evokes the physical analogy of buying products or services at a bricks-and-mortar retailer or shopping center.

The process is called business-to-consumer (B2C) online shopping. When a business buys from another business it is called business-to-business (B2B) online shopping. Consumers find a product of interest by visiting the website of the retailer directly or by searching among alternative vendors using a shopping search engine.

Firmoo was established in May 2009 by Patrick Li and incorporated in the British Virgin Islands as Firmoo Optical Co., Ltd. Although the domain name was registered by the end of 2008, it wasn’t until September 2009 that the website was launched but for glasses site originally.                         

However, the idea of a logo only came up to Patrick Li later on.  He told his designer what he pictured in his mind that the two small o’s  or “oo” in Firmoo can be designed as a pair of eyeglasses, and what we see above is the outcome of what well represented a pair of spectacles. It was then that he decided to use, the global online optical store.

Firmoo offers a variety of high-quality prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses at very competitive prices, usually “spiced” with thoughtful customer service.  The customary practice of putting customers its highest priority significantly raised the company’s position as the leading online eyeglasses store in the world.

The e-commerce transition has not only made Firmoo keep up with online competitors, but it also gave the company the edge over the brick-and-mortar eyeglass stores. The company’s pursuit to establish the online optical store at affordable prices without compromising the quality of the eyewear was because of years of expertise in the optical industry, not to mention the perfect collaboration among the company’s optical experts, the direct manufacturers but also with overseas laboratories.

As grew as an optical online store, the company never ceased to find ways improve. It started conducting surveys concerning the efficiency of the optical industry in terms of quality of the product, the price, and customer service. The company never runs out of perks and giveaways, and delivers worldwide. Most of all, Firmoo never forgets to give back part of its success to its valued customers. No wonder Firmoo is the most-talked about optical store by thousands on Facebook.

As stated by Firmoo’s CEO, Patrick Li, “Our team has selected hundreds of classical and fashionable styles in order to save time for our customers when they are choosing eyeglasses.  We always believe in fashion and frugality.”

SHARP Corporation is a Japanese multinational corporation that designs and manufactures electronic products. The company was a metal workshop in Tokyo founded in September 1912 by Tokuji Hayakawa. The first of the many of his inventions was a snap-buckle named “Tokubijo,” followed by the EVER-SHARP MECHANICAL PENCIL invented by the founder in 1915, where the company took its name. Since then it has developed into one of the leading electronics companies in the world.

After the pencil business was destroyed by the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, the company relocated to Osaka and began designing the first generation of Japanese radio sets. These went on sale in 1925. In 1953, SHARP started producing television sets.

It took Sharp several years to develop the product as they had no experience in making computing devices at the time. In 1966, SHARP introduced the first IC calculator using 145 Mitsubishi-made bipolar ICs priced at about US$1,400 and the first LSI calculator was developed. It was the world’s first transistor calculator and the first “pocketable” calculator that turned out to be a popular item priced less than US$300.

Other notable achievements include the first LCD calculator in 1973. LCD technology continues to be a key part of Sharp’s product range, in both the component and consumer-appliance sides of the business.

Sharp shared a close working relationship with Nintendo during the 1980s and was granted licensing rights for the manufacture and development of the C1 NES TV, which was later released in North America as the Sharp Nintendo Television in 1983, the Twin Famicom in 1986, the Sharp Famicom Titler in 1989, and the SF-1 SNES TV in 1990. All of these units are considered collector’s items in the secondary market.

Sharp’s Mobile Communications Division created the world’s first commercial camera phone, the J-SH04, in Japan in 1997. In 2008, the company collaborated with Emblaze Mobile on the Monolith, an ambitious project to design the ultimate holistic mobile device. The project was never brought to the market. Key software developers were later picked up by other companies.

SHARP’s core technologies and products include: LCD panels, solar panels, mobile phones, audio-visual entertainment equipment, video projectors, Multi-Function Printing Devices, microwave ovens, air conditioners, cash registers, CMOS and CCD sensors, and flash memory.

The first commercial camera phone was also made by Sharp for the Japanese market in November 2000. Recent products include the ViewCam, the Ultra-Lite notebook PC, the Zaurus personal digital assistant, Sidekick 3, and the AQUOS flat screen television.

Sharp manufactures a variety of consumer electronic products. These include LCD televisions, sold under the Aquos brand, mobile phones, microwave ovens, Home cinema and audio systems, air purification systems, fax machines and calculators.

For the business market, Sharp also produces ranges of projectors and monitors and a variety of photocopiers and Laser Printers, in addition to electronic cash registers and Point of sale technologies.The company is a pioneer and innovator in the field of multi-functional devices (MFD) having won many awards from BLI and BERTL, the two major authorities providing competitive intelligence and test reviews in the print industry.

SHARP’s latest products, MX2600N and MX3100N, have once again broken new ground with the launch of version 3 Open System Architecture or OSA3. This feature enhances productivity further still by letting third party developers directly integrate their business applications with the MFD.

Sharp Solar has for a number of years been a leading supplier of silicon photovoltaic (PV) solar cells. Now, it offers solar TV. In Q1 2010, they were rated the number one producer of solar PV systems in terms of revenues.
In March 2012 the Taiwan-based electronics company Hon Hai, commonly known as Foxconn, agreed to acquire a 10 percent stake in Sharp Corporation for US$806 million and to purchase up to 50 percent of the LCD displays produced at Sharp’s plant in Sakai, Japan.

Sharp acquired a controlling stake in Pioneer Corporation in 2007. In June 25, 2009, SHARP and Pioneer agreed to form a joint venture comprising their optical businesses, called “Pioneer Digital Design and Manufacturing Corporation.

3M Company started out on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Illgen City before moving to Two Harbors in 1902. Formerly known as The Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, it is an American multinational conglomerate corporation based in Maplewood, Minnesota, which was then changed to 3M when the company diversified and focused on innovative new products.

The founders’ original plan was to sell the mineral corundum to manufacturers in the East for making grinding wheels. After selling one load, on June 13, 1902, the five went to the Two Harbors office of company secretary John Dwan and signed papers making Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing a corporation. In reality, however, Dwan and his associates were not selling what they thought; they were really selling the worthless mineral anorthosite. So it began by mining stone from quarries for use in grinding wheels.

Struggling with quality and marketing of its products, management supported its workers to innovate and develop new products which became its core business. Failing to make sandpaper with the anorthosite, the founders decided to import minerals like Spanish garnet, after which sale of sandpapers grew.

In 1914, customers complained that the garnet was falling off the paper. The founders discovered that the stones had traveled across the Atlantic Ocean packed near olive oil that penetrated the stones. Unable to take the loss of selling expensive inventory, they roasted the stones over fire to remove the olive oil. This was the first instance of research and development at 3M.

Twelve years after being founded, 3M developed its first exclusive product: Three-M-ite cloth. Other innovations in this era included masking tape, waterproof sandpaper and Scotch brand tapes.

By 1929, 3M made its first moves toward international expansion by forming Durex to conduct business in Europe. The same year, the company’s stock was first traded over the counter and in 1946 listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The company is currently a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and of the S&P 500.

JEFF BEZOS wanted a name for his company that began with letter “A” so it would appear early in alphabetical order. He started to look through the dictionary and saw “AMAZON.” He settled to name his company “AMAZON” because it starts with an “A,” and it was the river that he considered the biggest in the world. Truly as he hoped his company would be and as it is now. The company was incorporated as Cadabra in July 1994, and the site went online as in 1995., Inc., is an American multinational electronic commerce company with headquarters in Seattle, Washington; and the world’s largest online retailer. It also produces consumer electronics, notably, the Amazon Kindle e-book reader, and a major provider of cloud computing services. started as an online bookstore, but soon diversified into selling DVDs, CDs, MP3 downloads, software, video games, electronics, apparel, furniture, food, toys, and jewelry.

Originally, the site belonged to ECHO BAY TECHNOLOGY, Pierre Omidyar’s consulting firm. He tried to register the domain name; however, a gold mining company, ECHO BAYMINES, had already taken the name. As Omidyar’s second choice, he shortened it to EBAY.COM. Why the different colors for each letter, just no reason at all.

eBay, Inc. is an American Internet consumer-to-consumer corporation that manages, an online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide.

Founded in 1995, eBay is one of the notable success stories of the dot-com bubble. It is now a multi-billion-dollar business with operations localized in over thirty countries. eBay expanded from its original “set-time” auction format to include “BUY IT NOW” standard shopping.

The online auction website was founded as AuctionWeb in San Jose, California, in September 5, 1995, by French-born Iranian-American computer programmer Pierre Omidyar as part of a larger personal site that included, among other things, Omidyar’s own tongue-in-cheek tribute to the Ebola virus.

One of the first items sold on eBay was a broken laser pointer for $14.83. Astonished, Omidyar contacted the winning bidder to ask if he understood that the laser pointer was broken. In his responding email, the buyer explained, “I’m a collector of broken laser pointers.”

The frequently repeated story that eBay was founded to help Omidyar’s fiancée trade Pez candy dispensers was fabricated by a public relations manager in 1997 to interest the media, which were not interested in the company’s previous explanation about wanting to create a “perfect market.” This was revealed in Adam Cohen’s 2002 book, The Perfect Store, and confirmed by eBay.

Chris Agarpao was hired as eBay’s first employee and Jeffrey Skoll was hired as the first president of the company in early 1996 and Meg Whitman was hired as eBay President and CEO in March 1998. At that time there were 30 employees.

eBay went public on September 21, 1998,and both Omidyar and Skoll became instant billionaires. eBay’s target share price of $18 was all but ignored as the price went to $53.50 on the first day of trading. As the company expanded product categories beyond collectibles into almost any saleable item, business grew quickly.

In February 2002, the company purchased IBazar, a similar European auction web site founded in 1993, and then bought PayPal on October 14, 2002. By early 2008, the company had expanded worldwide. In late 2009, eBay completed the sale of Skype for $2.75 billion, but will still own 30% equity in the company.

In July 2010, eBay was sued for $3.8 billion by XPRT Ventures that accused eBay of stealing information shared in confidence by the inventors on XPRT’s own patents and incorporated it into features in its own payment systems, such as PayPal Pay Later and PayPal Buyer Credit.

In December 20, 2010, eBay announced its acquisition of a German online shopping club,, for $197 million to strengthen the company’s interests in the fashion industry in Europe.


Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Reviews


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Some Recognizable Iconic Brands, Their Names and Logos – INTEL vs. IBM (6th of a series)

Even the biggest chip companies may churn out their share of flops, but the hoopla surrounding these chips is more fascinating than the failures. The hype is that the design philosophical thought will one day be replaced by a more advanced technology. In this boondoggled technology, the biggest flops flop big and sure bets get massively pumped up, then poop out fast. And if this happens, time comes when the company either pulls the plug or practically relegates it to oblivion.  For Intel and IBM, it may be like a good-news, bad-news situation; however, the uncertainty may still bring best value.

In order to “one-up” his former employers, National Cash Register, Tom Watson, Sr., called his company INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES, IBM. Starting in the 1880s, various technologies came into existence that would form part of IBM’s predecessor company.

Julius E. Pitrap patented the computing scale in 1885; Alexander Dey invented the dial recorder in 1888; in 1889, Herman Hollerith patented the Electric Tabulating Machine; and Willard Bundy invented a time clock, the “Bundy Clock,” to record a worker’s arrival and departure time on a paper tape.

In June 16, 1911, these technologies and their respective companies were merged by Charles Ranlett Flint to form the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, C-T-R. The company manufactured and sold machinery ranging from commercial scales and industrial time recorders to meat and cheese slicers, along with tabulators and punched cards.

Charles Flint recruited Thomas J. Watson, Sr., from the National Cash Register Company to help lead the company in 1914. Watson implemented “generous sales incentives, a focus on customer service, an insistence on well-groomed, dark-suited salesmen and an evangelical fervor for instilling company pride and loyalty in every worker.”

Tom Watson, Sr.’s favorite slogan, “THINK,” became a mantra for C-T-R’s employees; and within 11 months, he became its president. During Watson’s first four years, revenues more than doubled to $9 million and the company’s operations expanded to Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia. The company focused on providing large-scale, custom-built tabulating solutions for businesses, leaving the market for small office products to others.

The Manila City Hall Tower has one of IBM’s oldest clock and still being maintained by the company up until now.

In February 14, 1924, C-T-R was renamed the International Business Machines Corporation, IBM, citing the need to align its name with the “growth and extension of its activities.” Financial swaps were first introduced to the public in 1981, when IBM and the World Bank entered into a swap agreement.

In 2003, IBM initiated a project to rewrite its company values. Using its Jam technology, the company hosted Internet-based online discussions on key business issues with 50,000 employees over three days.

In 2005 the company sold its personal computer business to Lenovo; and in 2009, it acquired the software company, SPSS, Inc. Later in 2009, IBM’s Blue Gene supercomputing program was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by U.S. President Barack Obama.

In 2006, IBM launched Secure Blue, a low-cost hardware design for data encryption that can be built into a microprocessor. In 2011, IBM gained worldwide attention for its artificial intelligence program Watson, which was exhibited on Jeopardy! where it won against game show champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

As of 2011, IBM had been the top annual recipient of U.S. patents for 19 consecutive years. IBM’s surpassed Microsoft’s closing value for the first time since 1996, exceeding its software rival based on closing price. However, as of September 30, 2011, IBM’s value remained less than two-thirds of Apple’s value.

INTEL Corporation was founded in Mountain View, California, in July 18, 1968 by semiconductor pioneers Gordon E. Moore of “Moore’s Law” fame, a chemist and physicist; Robert Noyce, a physicist and co-inventor of the integrated circuit; and Arthur Rock, investor and venture capitalist. Moore and Noyce came from Fairchild Semiconductor and were Intel’s first two employees.

INTEL is the world’s largest and highest valued semiconductor chip maker and the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors found in most personal computers. INTEL is portmanteau of INTEGRATED ELECTRONICS, though the common misconception is that it was derived from the word “INTELligence,” which is not.

Moore and Noyce initially wanted to name the company “Moore Noyce.” The name, however, was a partial homophone for “MORE NOISE,” an ill-suited name for an electronics company, since noise in electronics is usually very undesirable and typically associated with bad interference. Instead they used the name NM Electronics for almost a year before deciding to call their company INTEGRATED ELECTRONICS or “INTEL” for short.  Since “INTEL” was already trademarked by the hotel chain INTELCO, they were forced to buy the rights for the name.

The company was an early developer of SRAM and DRAM memory chips, and this represented the majority of its business until 1981. Although Intel created the world’s first commercial microprocessor chip in 1971, it was not until the success of the personal computer, PC, that this became its primary business.

Intel’s business grew during the 1970s as it expanded and improved its manufacturing processes and produced a wider range of products, which still dominated by various memory devices. While Intel created the first commercially available microprocessor Intel 4004 in 1971 and one of the first microcomputers in 1972, by the early 1980s, its business was dominated by dynamic random-access memory chips.

However, increased competition from Japanese semiconductor manufacturers had, by 1983, dramatically reduced the profitability of this market, and the sudden success of the IBM personal computer convinced then-CEO Andrew Grove to shift the company’s focus to microprocessors, and to change fundamental aspects of that business model. The decision had proven successful.

Buoyed by its fortuitous position as microprocessor supplier to IBM and IBM’s competitors within the rapidly growing personal computer market, Intel embarked on a ten-year period of unprecedented growth as the primary and most profitable hardware supplier to the PC industry.

By launching its “INTEL INSIDE” marketing campaign in 1991, the company was able to associate brand loyalty with consumer selection so that by the end of the 1990s, its line of Pentium processors had become a household name.

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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Reviews


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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Life as We Know It


Some Recognizable Iconic Brands, Their Names and Logos – Sharp, Sony, Nikon, and Canon (5th of a series)

A camera is a wonderful tool for those who enjoy taking pictures. It is very appealing and always gives something different, something that sets images apart from others. Even though it may not always be to everyone’s liking, it gives the vision of what the photographer is trying to convey. That’s what matters most.  

Although these companies didn’t really start with products they are known for today, here are some of the well-known camera makers and the name behind it.

The first camera was known to be “KWANON,” after the name of a Japanese Buddhist Boddhisatva of Mercy.  In 1935, it was changed to CANON because the company thought it would be better accepted by people.  Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory is the predecessor of Canon, Inc., and was founded in Tokyo in 1937 by Takeshi Mitarai, Goro Yoshida, Saburo Uchida and Takeo Maeda. Its headquarters are located in Ōta, Tokyo, Japan.  

CANON, Inc., is a Japanese multinational corporation that specializes in the manufacture of imaging and optical products, including cameras, camcorders, photocopiers, steppers and computer printers. The company was originally named KWANON which is known in Japanese as Kannon.

In 1934, it produced a prototype for Japan’s first-ever 35 mm camera with a focal plane shutter. In 1947, the name was changed to CANON. Today, the company produces digital compact and SLR cameras, photographic lenses, video camcorders, printers and analog and digital copiers for the office, including its line of imageRUNNER and imagePRESS digital multifunctional devices.

CANON was granted more than 2000 patents in the U.S. in 2008. It regularly places in the top five in the total number of patents granted.

NIPPON Kōgaku Kōgyō Kabushikigaisha or in a shortened version, Japan Optical Industries, Co., Ltd. The company was renamed NIKON Corporation after its cameras in 1988.

Also known as just NIKON, it is a Japanese multinational corporation headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, specializing in optics and imaging. Its products include cameras, binoculars, microscopes, measurement instruments, and the steppers used in the photolithography steps of semiconductor fabrication, of which it is the world’s second largest manufacturer.

The companies held by Nikon formed the Nikon Group. Among its products are Nikkor imaging lenses for F-mount cameras, large format photography, photographic enlargers, and other applications, the Nikon F-series of 135 film SLR cameras, the Nikon D-series of digital SLR cameras, the Coolpix series of compact digital cameras, and the Nikonos series of underwater film cameras.

Nikon’s main competitors in camera and lens manufacturing include Canon, Casio, Kodak, Sony, Pentax, Panasonic, Fujifilm and Olympus. Founded in 1917, the company was renamed Nikon Corporation, after its cameras. The name Nikon, which dates from 1946, is a merging of Nippon Kōgaku and Zeiss’ brand IKON.

Germany, though, as Zeiss complained, that Nikon violated its trademarked camera, and so from 1963 to 1968 the Nikon F, in particular, was labeled “Nikkor.” During World War II, the company grew and supplied items; such as, binoculars, lenses, bomb sights, and periscopes to the Japanese military. Nikon is one of the companies of the Mitsubishi Group.

SONY’S  founders, Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka, derived the name from SONUS, the root SONIC and the Latin word for SOUND; and, also, from the English slang word “SONNY,” since they considered themselves to be “sonny boys.” It is a loaned word into Japanese, which in the early 1950s connoted smart and presentable young men.

In May 7, 1946, after the end of World War II, Masaru Ibuka started a radio repair shop in a bomb-damaged Shirokiya department store building in the Nihonbashi district of Tokyo. Akio Morita joined him the following year and they founded a company called Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo or Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation.  They strongly considered using a more romanized name TKK, their initials, but a railway company Tokyo Kyuko was known as TKK.

They built Japan’s first tape recorder, the Type-G. In the early 1950s, Ibuka traveled to the United States and heard about Bell Labs’ invention of the transistor and convinced Bell to license the transistor technology to his Japanese company. They used Tokyo Teletech for some time.

While most American companies were researching the transistor for its military applications, Ibuka and Morita looked to apply it to communications. Although the American companies Regency Electronics and Texas Instruments built the first transistor radio as joint venture, it was Ibuka’s company that made them commercially successful for the first time. The first Sony-branded product, the TR-55 transistor radio, appeared in 1955, but the company name did not change to SONY until January 1958.



Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Reviews


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Some Recognizable Iconic Brands, Their Names and Logos – Nokia, IKEA, and Virgin (4th of a series)

Even though it was only a few life years ago, like in the year 1999 B.C., and that’s so before cell phones, just hard to imagine now. It has become an essential tool for communicating in today’s modern world because of the added convenience and ease. And the most popular of them is NOKIA.

IKEA, international home products company that designs and sells ready-to-assemble  such as beds and desks, appliances and home accessories. The name of world’s largest furniture retailer is an acronym, a composite of the initials of the founders name, Ingvar Kamprad, “IK”; and the farm where he grew up Smaland, South Sweden, Elmtaryd Agunnaryd, the “EA.”

The company claims that this helps reduce costs and use of packaging by not shipping air; the volume of a bookcase, for example, is considerably less if it is shipped unassembled rather than assembled. This is also practical for many of the chain’s European customers, where public transport is commonly used, with the flat-pack methods allowing for easier transport via public transportation.

IKEA has also expanded their product base to include flat-pack houses, in an effort to cut prices involved in a first-time buyer’s home. The product, named BoKlok was launched in Sweden in 1996 in a joint venture with Skanska.  In August 8, 2008, IKEA UK launched Family Mobile, a virtual mobile phone network, running on T-Mobile.

Although IKEA household products and furniture are designed in Sweden, they are largely manufactured in developing countries to keep costs down. With suppliers in 50 countries, roughly 2/3 of purchasing is from Europe with about 1/3 from Asia.

Things were going so well for the company, that in 1973, the company’s German executives accidentally opened a store in Konstanz when they had meant to open one in Koblenz. Later that decade, stores opened in other parts of the world, including Japan (1974), Australia and Hong Kong (1975), Canada (1976), and Singapore (1978). IKEA further expanded in the 1980s, opening stores in France & Spain (1981), Belgium (1984), the United States (1985), the United Kingdom (1987), and Italy (1989), among other areas.

VIRGIN Group Limited is a British-branded venture capital conglomerate organization founded by business tycoon Richard Branson with core business areas on travel, entertainment and lifestyle. Incorporated, it was listed as 1989 by Companies House as a holding company; however, business and trading activities dates back to1970. Although Branson retains complete ownership and control of the Virgin Brand, the commercial setup of companies using it or operating under the brand is a separate entity, with Branson completely owning some and holding minority or majority stakes in others.

Occasionally, he simply licenses the brand to a company that has purchased a division from him; such as, Virgin Mobile USA, Virgin Mobile Australia, Virgin Radio and Virgin Music (now part of EMI). The brand name “VIRGIN” arose when Branson and other partners were starting a business, a record shop. One of the girls suggested VIRGIN. After all they considered themselves VIRGINS in the BUSINESS. The current Virgin logo was originally sketched on a paper napkin and remains largely unchanged since 1979.

A multinational communications corporation headquartered in Keilaniemi, Espoo, NOKIA started as a wood pulp mill. Pre-telecommunications era predecessors of the modern Nokia were the Nokia Company (Nokia Aktiebolag), Finnish Rubber Works Ltd. (Suomen Gummitehdas Oy) and Finnish Cable Works Ltd. (Suomen Kaapelitehdas Oy).

Nokia is the world’s largest vendor of mobile phones from 1998 to 2012.However, over the past five years, it has suffered declining market share as a result of the growing use of smartphones, principally the Apple iPhone and devices running on Google’s Android platform.

NOKIA’s history started in 1865 when mining engineer Fredrik Idestam established a groundwood pulp mill on the banks of the Tammerkoski rapids in the town of Tampere, in southwestern Finland in Russian Empire and started manufacturing paper. The predecessors of the modern Nokia were the Nokia Company (Nokia Aktiebolag), Finnish Rubber Works Ltd (Suomen Gummitehdas Oy) and Finnish Cable Works Ltd (Suomen Kaapelitehdas Oy).

In 1868, Idestam built a second mill near the town of Nokia which had better resources for hydropower production. In 1871, Idestam, with the help of his close friend statesman Leo Mechelin, renamed and transformed his firm into a share company, thereby founding the Nokia Company, the name it is still known by today.

Toward the end of the 19th century, Mechelin’s wishes to expand into the electricity business were at first thwarted by Idestam’s opposition. However, Idestam’s retirement from the management of the company in 1896 allowed Mechelin to become the company’s chairman (from 1898 until 1914) and sell most shareholders on his plans, thus realizing his vision. In 1902, Nokia added electricity generation to its business activities.

Since February 2011 Nokia has had a strategic partnership with Microsoft, as part of which, all Nokia smartphones will incorporate Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system. Nokia unveiled its first Windows Phone handsets, the Lumia 710 and 800, in October 2011.

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Posted by on May 27, 2012 in Reviews


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Some Recognizable Iconic Brands and Their Names and Logos – 7-Eleven, WalMart, and Wendy’s (3rd of a series)

7-Eleven, primarily operating as a franchise, is the world’s largest operator, franchisor and licensor of convenience stores, surpassing the previous record-holder McDonald’s Corporation in 2007. The company has its origins in 1927 in Dallas, Texas, when an employee of Southland Ice Company, Joe C. Thompson, started selling milk, eggs and bread from the company’s ice house and in an improvised storefront owned by John Jefferson Green.

Thompson, the manager of the ice plant, discovered selling convenience items was popular due to the ice’s ability to preserve the items, a significant cutback on the need to travel long distances to the grocery stores for basic items. Thompson eventually bought the Southland Ice Company and turned it into Southland Corporation.

It was incorporated as Southland Corporation in 1961. In the 1980s, the company ran into financial difficulties, selling off its ice division, and was rescued from bankruptcy by Ito-Yokado, its largest franchisee. In 1987, John Philp Thompson, the CEO of 7-Eleven, completed a $5.2 billion management buyout of the company his father had founded, but the buyout suffered from the 1987 stock market crash and failed to raise high-yield debt financing. The company was required to offer a portion of the company’s stock as an inducement to invest in the company’s bonds. In 1991, the Japanese company gained a controlling share of 7-Eleven, Ito-Yokado formed Seven & I Holdings Co. and 7-Eleven became its subsidiary in 2005.

Initially, these stores were open from 7 am to 11 pm, hours unprecedented in their length, hence the name. The company began to use the 7-Eleven name in 1946. By 1952, 7-Eleven opened its 100th store.

In July 2, 1962, Sam WALton opened the first WALMART Discount City store located at 719 Walnut Ave. in Rogers, Arkansas. Within five years, the company expanded to 24 stores across Arkansas and reached $12.6 million in sales.In 1968, it opened its first stores outside Arkansas, in Sikeston, Missouri and Claremore, Oklahoma.

Logo used from the ’80s to the ’90s. Some WalMart stores in Canada still use it until now.

The company was incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in October 31, 1969. Branded as Walmart since 2008 and Wal-Mart before then, it is an American multinational retailer corporation that runs chains of large discount department stores and warehouse stores. The company is the world’s 18th largest public corporation, according to the Forbes Global 2000 list, and the largest public corporation when ranked by revenue. It is also the biggest private employer in the world with over two million employees and the largest retailer in the world.

The earliest logo that is no longer in use.

It remains a family-owned business, controlled by the Walton family who owns a 48% stake in Walmart.It also owns and operates the Sam’s Club retail warehouses in North America. Walmart’s first logo was used from 1962 to 1968, but no store has the logo nowadays. From 1981 to 1992, this one was in use and Walmart Canada’s first logo used from 1994 to 2001, although few locations still use this one. WALMART was named after its founder, Sam WALton.

The company has been owned by Triarc, now called WENDY’S Company since 2008. As of 2010, Wendy’s was the world’s third largest hamburger fast-food chain with approximately 6,650 locations, following McDonald’s 31,000+ locations and Burger King’s 12,000-plus locations.

In 2011, Wendy’s sales exceeded those of Burger King for the first time in the company’s history. With sales of US$8.5 billion, the company ranked number two in hamburger chains, although Burger King still had far more restaurants. Approximately 77% of Wendy’s restaurants are franchised, and sets standards for exterior store appearance, food quality and menu; however, individual owners have control over hours of operations, interior decor, pricing, staff uniforms and wages.

Up until recently, the company did not have a signature sandwich, such as the Big Mac or the Whopper. Instead, the square burger patties, which are fresh ground beef rather than frozen patties, were their signature items. Recently the company introduced a new sandwich entitled, The “W.” The Columbus location later added a Tim Hortons and was closed on March 2, 2007 after 38 years of business due to declining sales.

Thomas named the restaurant after his fourth child, MELINDA LOU “WENDY” THOMAS, of which photographs of her were on display at the original Wendy’s restaurant until it closed. On April 24, 2008, the company announced a merger with Triarc, the parent company of Arby’s and became known as WENDY’S/Arby’s Group. The merger was unsuccessful and Arby’s was sold in 2011.


Posted by on May 27, 2012 in Reviews


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Some Recognizable Iconic Brands and Their Names and Logos – Nike, Adidas, and Reebok (2nd of a series)

The first thing one doesn’t overlook is a pair shoes. The top brands that have various quality and designed for one’s activity and its use to protect the foot.

Named after the Greek goddess of Victory, NIKE, and the SWOOSH is the symbol of her flight. NIKE, originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS), was founded by University of Oregon track athlete Philip Knight and his coach Bill Bowerman in January 1964, and officially became NIKE, Inc., in May 30, 1978.

The company first operated as a distributor for Japanese shoe maker Onitsuka Tiger (now ASICS), making most sales at track meets out of Knight’s automobile. According to Otis Davis, a student athlete whom Bowerman coached at the University of Oregon, who later went on to win two gold medals at the 1960 Summer Olympics, Bowerman made the first pair of Nike shoes for him, contradicting a claim that they were made for Phil Knight.

Says Davis, “I told Tom Brokaw that I was the first. I don’t care what all the billionaires say. Bill Bowerman made the first pair of shoes for me. People don’t believe me. In fact, I didn’t like the way they felt on my feet. There was no support and they were too tight. But I saw Bowerman make them from the waffle iron, and they were mine.”

The company’s profits grew quickly.  In 1967, BRS opened its first retail store, located on Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica, California. By 1971, the relationship between BRS and Onitsuka Tiger was nearing an end. BRS prepared to launch its own line of footwear, which would bear the Swoosh that was newly designed by Carolyn Davidson. It was first used by Nike on June 18, 1971 and was registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on January 22, 1974.

The first shoe sold to the public to carry this design was a soccer shoe named Nike, which was released in the summer of 1971. In February 1972, BRS introduced its first line of Nike shoes In 1978, BRS, Inc. officially renamed itself to Nike, Inc. Beginning with Ilie Năstase, the first professional athlete to sign with BRS/Nike, the sponsorship of athletes became a key marketing tool for the rapidly growing company. The company’s first self-designed product was based on Bowerman’s “waffle” design.

After the University of Oregon resurfaced the track at Hayward Field, Bowerman began experimenting with different potential outsoles that would grip the new urethane track more effectively. His efforts were rewarded one Sunday morning when he poured liquid urethane into his wife’s waffle iron. In 1974, He developed and refined the so-called “waffle” sole which would evolve into the now-iconic Waffle Trainer.  By 1980, Nike had attained a 50% market share in the U.S. athletic shoe market, and the company went public in December of that year. Its growth was due largely to “word-of-foot” advertising to quote a Nike print ad from the late 1970s, rather than television ads.

 Nike’s first national television commercials ran in October 1982, during the broadcast of the New York Marathon. The ads were created by Portland-based advertising agency Wieden & Kennedy, which had formed several months earlier in April. Together, they have created many print and television advertisements.  Wieden & Kennedy remains Nike’s primary ad agency.

It was agency co-founder Dan Wieden who coined the now-famous slogan “Just Do It” for a 1988 Nike ad campaign, which was chosen by Advertising Age as one of the top five ad slogans of the 20th century and enshrined in the Smithsonian Institution. Walt Stack was featured in Nike’s first “Just Do It” advertisement, which debuted on July 1, 1988. Wieden credits the inspiration for the slogan as the last words spoken by Gary Gilmore before he was executed.

Nike has been criticized for contracting with factories known as “Nike sweatshops” in countries; such as, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Mexico. Vietnam Labor Watch, an activist group, has documented that factories contracted by Nike have violated minimum wage and overtime laws in Vietnam as late as 1996, although Nike claims that this practice has been stopped.

The company has been subject to much critical coverage of the often poor working conditions and exploitation of cheap overseas labor employed in the free trade zones where their goods are typically manufactured. Sources for this criticism include Naomi Klein’s book No Logo and Michael Moore documentaries.

During the 1990s, Nike faced criticism for the use of child labor in Cambodia and Pakistan in factories it contracted to manufacture soccer balls. Although Nike took action to curb or at least reduce the practice, they continued to contract their production to companies that operate in areas where inadequate regulation and monitoring make it hard to ensure that child labor is not being used.

In 2001, a BBC documentary uncovered occurrences of child labor and poor working conditions in a Cambodian factory used by Nike. The documentary focused on six girls who all worked seven days a week, often 16 hours a day. Campaigns have been taken up by many colleges and universities, especially anti-globalisation groups, as well as several anti-sweatshop groups such as the United Students Against Sweatshops. Despite these campaigns, however, Nike’s annual revenues have increased from US$6.4 billion in 1996 to nearly US$17 billion in 2007, according to the company’s annual reports.

A July 2008 investigation by Australian Channel 7 News found a large number of cases involving forced labor in one of the largest Nike apparel factories. The factory located in Malaysia was filmed by an undercover crew who found instances of squalid living conditions and forced labor. Nike has since stated that they will take corrective action to ensure the abuse does not continue.

As of July 2011, Nike stated that two-thirds of its factories producing Converse products still do not meet the company’s standards for worker treatment. A July 2011 Associated Press article stated that employees at the company’s plants in Indonesia reported constant abuse from supervisors. Throughout the 1980s, Nike expanded its product line to encompass many sports and regions throughout the world.

As of November 2008, Nike, Inc. owns four key subsidiaries: Cole Haan, Hurley International, Converse Inc. and Umbro. The first acquisition was the upscale footwear company Cole Haan in 1988. In February 2002, the company bought surf apparel company Hurley International from founder Bob Hurley. In July 2003, it paid US$309 million to acquire Converse, Inc., makers of the iconic Chuck Taylor All Stars sneakers. In March 3, 2008, Nike acquired sports apparel supplier Umbro, known as the manufacturers of the England national football team‘s kit, in a deal said to be worth £285M, (about US$600M. Other subsidiaries previously owned and subsequently sold by Nike include Bauer Hockey and Starter.

Founder is Adolf Dassler whose nickname was “ADI.” The company name was taken from the nickname and the first three letters of his surname, “DAS.” Together, as a portmanteau, it formed “ADIDAS.” The company’s clothing and shoe designs typically feature three parallel bars and the same motif is incorporated into Adidas’s current official logo. The “Three Stripes” were bought from the Finnish sport company Karhu Sports in 1951.

Adidas AG is a German sports clothing manufacturer and parent company of the Adidas Group, which consists of the Reebok sportswear company, TaylorMade-Adidas golf company, including Ashworth and Rockport. Besides sports footwear, the company also produces other products such as bags, shirts, watches, eyewear, and other sports- and clothing-related goods. The company is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second biggest sportswear manufacturer in the world.

Adidas was founded in 1948 by Adolf Dassler, following the split of Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik between him and his older brother Rudolf. Rudolf later established Puma, which was the early rival of Adidas. Registered in 1949, Adidas is currently based in Herzogenaurach, Germany, along with Puma. He started to produce his own sports shoes in his mother’s wash kitchen in Herzogenaurach, Bavaria after his return from World War I.

In July 1924, his brother Rudolf returned to join his younger brother’s business, which became Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory). The pair started the venture in their mother’s laundry despite electricity supplies in the town were unreliable and the brothers sometimes had to use pedal power from a stationary bicycle to run their equipment.

By the 1936 Summer Olympics, Adi Dassler drove from Bavaria, in one of the world’s first motorways, to the Olympic village with a suitcase full of spikes and persuaded U.S. sprinter, Jesse Owens, to use them, the first sponsorship for an African-American. Owens’s haul of four gold medals cemented the good reputation of Dassler shoes among the world’s most famous sportsmen.

Business boomed and the Dasslers were selling 200,000 pairs of shoes each year before World War II. Both brothers joined the Nazi Party, but Rudolf was slightly closer to the party than Adolf Hitler. During the war, a growing rift between the pair reached a breaking point after an Allied bomb attack in 1943, when Adi and his wife climbed into a bomb shelter that Rudolf and his family were already in: “The dirty bastards are back again,”Adi said, referring to the Allied war planes; but Rudolf was convinced his brother meant him and his family. After Rudolf was later picked up by American soldiers and accused of being a member of the Waffen SS, he was convinced that his brother had turned him in.

The brothers split up in 1947, with Rudi forming a new firm that he called Ruda, from RUdolf DAssler, and later rebranded PUMA. Adi formally registered the company as Adidas AG from Adi Dassler in 1949. Although it is popularly claimed that the name is an acronym for All Day I Dream About Sport, that phrase is a backronym.

From Afrikaans spelling of RHEBOK, a type of African antelope or gazelle, hence the name REEBOK. Joseph William Foster was making a living producing regular running shoes when he came up with the idea to create a novelty spiked running shoe.

After his ideas progressed he joined with his sons and founded a shoe company named J.W. Foster and Sons in 1895. It was renamed in United Kingdom in 1958, when two of the founder’s grandson, Joe and Jeff Foster found the name in a South African edition dictionary. The company lived up to the J.W. Foster legacy, manufacturing first-class footwear for customers throughout the UK.

In 1979, Paul Fireman, a US sporting goods distributor, saw a pair of Reeboks at an international trade show and negotiated to sell them in North America.


Posted by on May 26, 2012 in Reviews


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