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Isis App Changing Name to Avoid Confusion With Iraqi Militant Group

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ISIS Mobile Payment App
Michael Abbott, CEO of ISIS, at the 2012 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Photo by Manuel Blondeau/AOP Press via Corbis

Three of the largest U.S. wireless carriers have been spending the last four years trying to get people interested in their mobile wallet app called Isis. Finally, the name is dominating headlines, but that hasn't been good news for AT&T, Verizon Communications and T-Mobile US.

The phone companies' Isis, which aims to let users securely store financial information and pay in stores by tapping their smartphones, happens to share its name with the violent al-Qaeda breakaway group responsible for thousands of recent deaths across Iraq and Syria. So the software company said today that it plans to change its name.

"We have no interest in sharing a name with a group whose name has become synonymous with violence," Isis CEO Michael Abbott wrote in a blog post. "Our hearts go out to those who are suffering."

The payment venture, which is similar to Google Wallet, has not been a big hit, and the association with a violent militant organization probably won't help. The company said it will continue to operate while it works on coming up with a new brand.

The al-Qaeda splinter group, founded in April 2013 with the goal of restoring an Islamic state, has widely been called ISIS by some English-speaking media outlets, short for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The United Nations, President Barack Obama and Bloomberg News refer to the group as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, or ISIL.

Note to the tech branding experts tasked with thinking up a new name for the mobile wallet company: Avoid ISIL.

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