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Magento Continues to Surprise: 4 Things You May Not Know About the Platform

The e-commerce platform Magento has existed for over a decade. Since then, its user numbers have snowballed, making it a staple of the e-commerce industry and the engine that powers 1.2% of the entire internet. It is one of the most popular platforms, if not the go-to solution for businesses that want to sell their products online. But even after so much time, we were able to unearth some little-known facts about Magento that might surprise even the most avid users. Read on below about four surprising things you may not know about the e-commerce giant.

Written by Ignacio Pascual

Magento Is Larger Than You Think And It’s Everywhere

Surely you have heard of Magento’s popularity. But did you know it is used by more than 1% of the world’s top 1 million websites and by more than 2% of the top 10,000, according to BuiltWith. Those are user figures most businesses can only dream to aspire to.

What’s more, about 12% of e-commerce sites use Magento, and it currently counts about a quarter-million active online merchants. Every year, goods worth some $155 billion are sold through systems based on Magento, making it the most popular commerce platform across the globe. And on top of that, its code has been downloaded more than 2.5 million times.

People search for the word “Magento” more often on Google than they search for the word “e-commerce.”

Not only is Magento incredibly popular, but it is also used all over the world. Magento’s certified developer program counts thousands of developers spanning dozens of countries. But that is only a fraction of the total number of Magento developers, which is currently more than 200,000.

Magento Changed Owners More Than Once

Multinational software company Adobe currently owns Magento, but before that, the platform had already changed hands multiple times.

At first, Magento was owned by Varien, the company of developer Roy Rubin. Rubin founded Varien as a student trying to make extra money on the side. He is now the Vice President and Chief Operations Officer at Magento.

In 2010, eBay became interested in Magento, which had been growing rapidly. And after initially taking a 49% stake in the company, the online seller bought the entire company the next year, for more than $180 million. eBay then put Magento under the umbrella of its enterprise division.

Fast forward to 2015, when eBay split that branch and sold its separate parts for short of $925 million to multiple buyers, with Magento being acquired by private equity firm Permira Holdings.

A few years later, Permira agreed to sell Magento to Adobe in 2018 for a swooping $1.68 billion. Since then, the business has continued to grow, and we should probably keep our eyes out for more deals involving the company to come, whether it be sales or acquisitions.

The Magic Tale That Led to Magento’s Name

Magento was initially called Bento — yes, like the Japanese lunch box. It held the name throughout 2007, during development, but the company was soon forced to come up with a new one, after running into some legal issues.

That alone isn’t that noteworthy; after all, plenty of startups will change their name at least once in their history, and some of today’s tech giants went with a somewhat awkward choice initially. Do you remember Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web (now Yahoo!)? Or BackRub (now Google)? Or even Relentless (now Amazon)?

But there’s a bit more to the origin of the name Magento. Most people think it merely stems from the color Magenta, which has been featured in the color schemes of the platform’s old logo, but there is more to it.

The truth is, when it came to choosing a new name, the coders developing Magento were really into mages, as in wizards. So they combined the word “mage” with “Bento” and, with this magic trick, created the name Magento.

Magento Offers a Free Open Source Version

In addition to Magento Commerce, the company’s paid e-commerce platform, Magento has also offered Magento Open Source since the company’s inception. Open Source is a free touse version of Magento, which lacks much of the operability and features of Magento Commerce, but still provides considerable value to users.

For example, two cabinet makers from Florida would launch their first online store in 2009 using Magento Open Source as their e-commerce backbone. Upgrading to Magento Commerce in 2014, the company has been recognized by Inc.com as one of America’s fastest growing companies, and they hit $1 million in sales on Cyber Monday.

Developers working on Magento’s open source platform benefit in two key areas. First, because it is free, smaller companies experimenting with e-commerce on a limited budget receive access to high-powered e-commerce software to help get them off the ground.

Second, because the platform is open-source, meaning the design is publicly accessible and developers can openly share and modify aspects of it, there is constant collaboration and support between developers on the creation of new plug-ins and modules — fueling vital creativity and innovation in the Magento community.

With the first couple versions of Magento Open Source available for download online, the community has since migrated to the popular software development host GitHub.

Firmly entering its second decade, Magento continues to innovate e-commerce and we’ll undoubtedly be surprised by the company’s accomplishments in its second chapter. For now, it is fun to take a look back at these little-known facts about a company which has had such a grand impact on online selling.