According to the official Bluetooth website, the technology was invented in 1994 by a group of engineers at Ericsson. It was originally intended to act as a wireless alternative to RS-232 cables.
In 1998, Ericsson, Intel, Nokia, Toshiba and IBM came together to form the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. No single company owns the technology, so the member companies of the group work to promote awareness and use of Bluetooth technology.
The name comes from the 10th-century Danish king Harold Bluetooth. Bluetooth helped bring peace to the warring factions in Norway, Sweden and Denmark; like King Bluetooth, the technology "allow(s) connectivity and collaboration between disparate products and industries."