The COM technology was created by Microsoft at around 1993. It was first named OLE 2.0, because it was used to implement the Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) feature in the Microsoft Office suite. This feature allowed, for example, embedding (or linking) an Excel table inside a Word document. The first version of OLE (known as OLE 1.0) was implemented by something called Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE), which is a long time Windows feature that is based on messaging. Microsoft realized that OLE is just one possible use of a more general technology, and so renamed OLE 2.0 to COM.
COM contains many details, but is based on very few principles: