Real Software and Real Studio no longer exist.

Deep breath.

Okay, seriously, that’s a little dramatic (ya’ think!?) but what might be described as the boldest decision the company has ever made.  Real Software has changed its name to Xojo, Inc. and Real Studio (formerly REALbasic) will now be named Xojo.  I think this move is good and bad and I’ll explain both.

First the bad.  Changing the company name and renaming the product is inherently risky and time consuming.  Real Software has over a decade of presence on the internet and people have come to know it (for better or worse).  Changing the name means different things to different folks.  For some it signals a new owner.  For some it smells of desperation.  It is neither.  It’s really just a change of direction.

The name Xojo itself is confusing at first.  It’s pronounced “Zoh Jo” and depending upon your language the z sound either makes sense to you or not.  Regardless, I don’t think it’s a huge issue but it might cause some confusion initially.  I’ll be honest that I didn’t like the name at first but it has grown on me.  Seeing it in big capitalized letters somehow makes it better.  Give it some time.  It will grow on you too.

The good part of Xojo is that it’s unique or pretty darned unique.  Doing a quick Google search of ‘xojo’ shows that there is a sports drink named Xojo and a few people using Xojo in their names.  We’ve been told that Xojo Inc. owns the copyright for Xojo so I can only guess what that means for Xojo the sports drink though I can’t imagine anyone getting confused between the two products.

Perhaps there’s a cross licensing deal to sell the energy drink to Xojo developers.  You heard it from me first – could be a goldmine.

I was a very big proponent of ditching the name “REALbasic”.  For years I argued that a) BASIC has a negative connotation in the developer community and b) adding ‘real’ in front of “basic” implies ‘simplicity’.  I always heard “Oh, it must be really simple BASIC” and therefore not very powerful.  I can’t say it cost me work but my consulting business did better after the name change than before.  Causal or correlation?  I can’t really answer that.

I applauded the name change that happened a few years ago to “Real Studio” but never took into account what that meant for search engines.  If you do a generic search on Duck Duck Go instead of Google (which remembers past searches) and search for Real Studio you’ll find some pretty generic references to photo and music studios.  Not that Real Studio by Real Software isn’t at the top of the search list but it certainly doesn’t bode well for search engine results.

Obviously this name change will take a while to take hold.  Xojo doesn’t officially get released until June 4th but you’d think by then posts like this will have spread through the search engines and started the conversation.

Earlier I said that a name change can signify a new start.  Along with the name change Xojo has a completely redesigned IDE that has a more modern feel to it.  The other big change for Xojo is new licensing.  The IDE is free with only one restriction:  you need a license to make a build.  As long as you’re debugging in Xojo you can develop for Mac, Windows, and Linux desktop, console, and web apps.  When the iOS version is released you will also be able to develop for that platform without having a license either – until you build.

A new, fresh looking IDE, along with a free(ish) IDE should make it a more attractive development platform for many.  Let’s hope that release quality and new features go hand-in-hand with the new look and licensing.  It should be interesting to see how it works.

So meet the new boss.  Same as the old boss just with a different name.

So what say you?  Do you think it’s a good or bad name change?

15 thoughts on “Xojo

  1. There is nothing wrong about changing the name of the company, but I think the name they settled on is far from optimal. When you have to have an FAQ that tells you how to pronounce the name and what it stands for, you have failed to pick a correct name. It probably won’t affect sales in the long term, but in the near term it could cause confusion. “Xojo” is a poor choice for a name because its meaning is not apparent from the name which will make for poor name recognition.

  2. I don’t think it will be that big of a deal. The name is pretty unique (do a google search) and that’s certainly one of the problems of ‘real studio’.

  3. Bob, if the opportunity presented itself, would you change the name of your company to “Xojo” as your first choice for a name?

  4. Not my company and not my call. I’m not sure why you care all that much. A name is just a name.

    Xojo is better than Real Studio for some good reasons. Is it ideal? Perhaps not, but no one at the conference has been complaining about the name and this group are the folks that would complain the most, vocally, if they felt it was a poor choice.

  5. Bob, presumably they are changing the name as a stepping stone to increase sales. Will it accomplish that purpose? Probably not. The new IDE will probably do that. You said, “Is it ideal? Perhaps not,” and that is precisely the crux of my question to you if you would choose “Xojo” for your company. Why isn’t ideal? I wouldn’t choose Xojo for my company name if I were to change it.

    Saying “a name is just a name” and “what might be described as the boldest decision the company has ever made” are contradictory statements. In business, names are very important and companies spend a lot of time and money selecting a name for good reason.

  6. To answer your question, you write an interesting blog and I still have software that hasn’t been converted yet. So what is point by asking me that?

  7. My main concern with the name change is its trying to pretend its not a cousin of Visual Basic. On top of that many of my best clients came to me because they used VB and RB seemed like a natural successor. I’m not sure if you are looking at a VB6 or VB.NET app you want to make cross platform that Xojo will be the obvious solution.

    Also the logo is a tad too much like the xbox and should be thought about more.

  8. I don’t think the name matters that much. After all we have Java for a programming language, Oracle for a database company and Xerox for a copy technology company. It is really difficult to create a name where you can get the domain and there is not already a bunch of search results. This way they can build the name and brand how they want. The product and company builds a brand, not the other way around.

    The name is cool, hip, short two syllables – it will catch on.

    I think this is a positive step, especially since “Basic” evokes so much negative feelings in the technology industry. The product, especially with the new web aspect outgrew it’s name. This is good.

  9. I think like everyone at first I did not like the name, but now actually it does have a ring to it and I think it sounds very professional.. Brandon, as bob said, I dont know why it would matter to you, Its a very bold move changing a name I did it my business a few years ago and no one cared, what they care about is that the service and products you deliver have the same quality as they have in the past, and I am sure it will be that case with XOJO.

    The only thing I will say which is a very teeny weeny gripe.. is what is up with the logo.. It looks like an XBOX logo, so actually it makes the product look even more Microsoft (Windows) centric than anything else which is not what they wanted. I bet if I went to 100 people out there and asked them what logo it was, more than 80% would say XBOX. It should be as unique as the cube was which was not similar in any way to another logo.

    Cant wait for it to be here, Roll on June 4th

  10. @Chris, You are correct in saying changing the name is a bold move, but you and Bob repeated the same sentiment that “A name is just a name.” This is a contradiction. RS is changing their name because of the negative connotation for people “who associated BASIC with dated technology.” They are presumably doing this in the hope of attracting new customers. What I have pointed out is that the name Xojo lacks crucial clues in the name itself to get new customers to continue looking like when they do a web search.

    Let’s consider another company that changed their name of their product from RunRev to LiveCode. Here is what they said about changing their name…

    “The new name more accurately conveys the benefits that are at the core of the LiveCode platform: a fast, compile-free workflow. This core message is more tightly associated with the unique selling points that are so important to our customer base, including enabling a highly productive workflow, outstanding ease-of-use, very-high-level English-like language and flexible delivery to multiple platforms and devices from a single code base.”

    Whether you like LiveCode or not, you have to appreciate the name “LiveCode.” The name LiveCode gives new customers a sense of what the product is about in that it has someing to do with programming. Xojo does not do that, in fact you have to dig to find out what it means (that it is a pseudo acronym) and potentially how to pronounce it let alone that it represents a programming environment. Is Xojo a soup, shoe, softdrink, exotic car, ear wax remover kit, etc.? So the name Xojo starts with a disadvantage of not giving a clue of what the product is in the name. So if you’re a new customer searching for a programming environment, which are you more likely to look at first, LiveCode or Xojo? LiveCode wins that battle hands down. Bottom line, “Xojo” is a suboptimal name for attracting new customers.

  11. Ruby on rails, django, python, perl, apple, swing, java, eclipse, json, android, bluetooth, blackberry, ice cream sandwich. Not too many optimal names there! 🙂

  12. The new name seems very odd. I probably wouldn’t have approached RB if it wasn’t called RealBASIC in the first place. Xojo doesn’t seem to have that kind of affinity to attract a larger crowd.

    But it’s just me.

Comments are closed.