“ISIS” a popular name – a little too popular for mobile payments group

It’s got to be uncomfortable when the name of your business turns out to be the same as the name of a notoriously violent, extremist militant group.

So it was understandable when the mobile payments consortium known as Isis – which is backed by major telecom carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon – announced this week that it has decided to change its name rather than share a brand with the group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, currently blamed for stirring up a lot of trouble in those countries.

Here’s a statement issued by Michael Abbott, CEO of the telecom-backed ISIS, which competes with Apple and Google in trying to develop a kind of digital wallet for making purchases with mobile phones:

“Recently, we have observed with growing concern a militant group whose name, when translated into English, is Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – often referenced by the acronym ISIS. The ISIS militant group has been linked to sectarian violence against civilians and government forces in Iraq and Syria. However coincidental, we have no interest in sharing a name with a group whose name has become synonymous with violence and our hearts go out to those who are suffering.”

Abbott added: “As a company, we have made the decision to rebrand.” He didn’t say what the new name will be.

Perhaps coincidentally, the militant group also recently decided to rebrand. It’s now going by the shorter name of “Islamic State.”

Isis is also the name of an Egyptian goddess, at least one rock band, and a very long song by Bob Dylan. But the name will always remind us of the hapless, fictional spy agency – the International Secret Intelligence Service – that employs Sterling Archer, Lana Kane and the rest of the gang on the FX channel’s animated series, “Archer.”

Somehow, we doubt Malory Archer will be changing the name of her agency.


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