Japanese electronics designer Matsushita Electric Industrial (NYSE: MC) will become Panasonic Corp. on Oct. 1, in an effort to unify the company under its best-known brand rather than its much-respected founder's family name. Somehow I don't think Konosuke Matsushita, the Japanese "god of business," would have minded.

This isn't the first time a large company has changed its corporate moniker to align its image more closely with its core business. Apple Computer wanted a broader appeal and became just Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) last year, because it ain't all about Macs anymore. EchoStar Communications (Nasdaq: DISH) will become DISH Network when the company spins out most of its infrastructure operations under a new ticker. And Federated Department Stores just didn't have the familiar zing of Macy's (NYSE: M).

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