What's in a name? Probably more than you think.
And this week, The New York Times reports that American International Group
The AIG name hardly inspires confidence these days -- but the company's products under other names are beating out fixed annuities from the likes of Genworth Financial
That which we call a rose by any other name may still smell as sweet, but the concept doesn't always transfer to the business world. It's amazing what some fresh letterhead, or a new label for a product, can do for a company.
In the software industry, Microsoft
The 1990s were not kind to the tobacco industry. The largest tobacco producers were ordered to pay hundreds of billions of dollars to settle a firestorm of health-related lawsuits, and tobacco was suddenly the longest four-letter word in the dictionary.
So what did market leader Philip Morris do? Distance itself from that sordid past, of course. Philip Morris has been known as Altria
Even mighty Starbucks
Did I miss your favorite name change? Tell us all about it in the comments below. And remember that each comment is really a charitable donation -- just under a different name.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call on Microsoft. Philip Morris is a Global Gains recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.