What’s in a name?

When Agilent announced in September 2013 that it was effectively cutting its electronic T&M operation adrift, it didn't give the spin off a name. That allowed a great deal of speculation about what the company might be called. Amongst the more tongue in cheek suggestions was 'Hewlett-Packard'; recognising the origins of the company in 1939 in the legendary Silicon Valley garage.

Needless to say, the company has gone with a safe choice; the new organisation will be called Keysight which, according to its chief executive, 'conveys the ability to see what others cannot, offering the critical or key insights to understand and unlock the changing technology landscape'. Somehow, the company also believes that Keysight imparts the impression that the company is 'innovative, insightful and forward looking'. Renaming companies is a strange business, involving consultants, suggestion boxes, long meetings of many people, graphics designers, printers and so on. Most of all, it involves a lot of cash. At the end, observers often wonder how the decision was arrived at. In the future, we'll probably be as comfortable with Keysight as we became with Agilent, but you do wonder whether there was a really good name on the table.