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Mobile Communications

Networking company name change madness is upon us

Tech companies LightSquared, Crittercism and ThinkingPhones are still around but no longer answer to those names.

You practically need a scorecard to keep track of these companies this week, as they have all changed names for one reason or another, and naturally are putting a positive spin on the results.

The networking industry has a long history of name changes, from France Telecom to Orange, Siemens Enterprise to Unify, and more recently, Google to Alphabet, etc. But of course redoing a company name is not a matter taken lightly given that some firms dole out tens of thousands of dollars to be branded just so. Not to mention all the subsequent pains in the neck and everywhere else, from getting new web domains to pounding out new business cards and other collateral.

MORE: The network industry's Most Colorful Story Ever!

LIGHTSQUARED WHO?

For LightSquared, hey, why not change your name?

The faded satellite star, if you don't recall, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012 after its bold plan to build a 4G LTE wireless network didn't fly despite the leadership of hedge fund chief Philip Falcone. The FCC and others were concerned that LightSquared's technology would interfere with GPS operators using adjacent spectrum.

Now the outfit is calling itself Ligado Networks, "a new brand that signals the company’s future vision of deploying its mid-band spectrum to deliver next-generation connectivity while also conveying the company’s heritage as a network service operator providing satellite connectivity throughout the U.S. and Canada."

While Ligado makes no mention of LightSquared in the headline of its press release, it does acknowledge a little further down that indeed it is looking to "turn the page" from the LightSquared bankruptcy. Among those on board is chairman Ivan Seidenberg, former Verizon CEO.

Ligado says it will work with industry and government stakeholders to get its mid-band spectrum to market -- a market that can use all the spectrum it can get.

DON'T BE CON-FUZED

Far less dramatically, unified communications-as-a-service company ThinkingPhones has rethought the name it has had since launching in 2006, and is now called Fuze. That name straightforwardly enough comes from a cloud-based video conferencing company called Fuze that ThinkingPhones bought last year.

CEO Steve Kokinos, who claims hiring and revenue at the company are off the charts, writes in a blog that the new name "removes the limitations of 'ThinkingPhones' and provides a name suggestive of our vision -- a unified platform that seamlessly 'fuzes' voice, video and collaboration." (Network World has written about ThinkingPhones customers over the years.)

Fuze has tied its bundled its name change with a funding announcement: a Series E round of $112M smackers led by Summit Partners.

CRITTERCISM NO MORE

Crittercism, a company whose catchy-but-confusing name conjured up both cuteness (critter) and negativity (criticism), is also changing its brand. Meet the more generic-sounding Apteligent. 

The company says it is moving beyond its crash/latency reporting to deliver "critical data and insights across multiple dimensions of the app lifecycle for enterprises of all sizes." Just to narrow things down a bit, Apteligent is going after the "Fortune 5,000,000," with Basic, JumpStart and Enterprise editions of its offerings (including a new Adobe Marketing Cloud connector for the Enterprise version).

What's more, you can check out a new Apteligent data site full of metrics and benchmarks about the mobile industry, such as iOS 9 and Android crash rates.

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