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Dell Computer Corp.'s board of directors have called for a much-needed company name change.

The Board has recommended that shareholders vote to re-brand the Texas-based PC maker as Dell Inc. Taking "Computer" out of the moniker would better represent Dell's role as a supplier of various hardware products from PCs to servers, storage and switches, the board said in a SEC filing.

"Recognition of the 'Dell' brand has grown so that the company is commonly known simply as 'Dell,' the board wrote. "The change of the name to 'Dell Inc.' more closely aligns our formal corporate name with our brand."

The board makes a good point in that Dell has marched away from its PC-only past. The company owns a huge chunk of the server market and is hawking storage systems and switches like mad.

As the folks at HP know, Dell has moved into printers as well.

Still, while moving to the simple Dell Inc. would maintain the company's tradition of trimming fat wherever possible, it does little to point to Dell's value as a company.

Dell is synonymous with the "American Way." The company was founded by a college drop-out inspired to pursue what he saw as a better business model. From these humble beginnings, Michael Dell shot his company to the top of the Fortune 500 list and amassed incredible wealth.

This is not the story of Willy Lowman from Death of a Salesman going to door-to-door and leaving bits of his soul on Welcome mats, as he pursued the American Dream. No, Michael Dell ranks high atop the list of those who have achieved and should be handed down a fair reward from shareholders.

The investors should speak out in favor of a more compelling name - McDell or Dell-Mart, perhaps.

Both names point to the company's success as a distribution model, and, like Dell Inc., remove any hint of there being a "computer company" behind the model.

Dell's strength is not making computing systems in the sense of a Sun Microsystems or IBM. No, Dell's strength comes from assembling parts like no other vendor can.

The model is reminiscent of other American stalwarts such as McDonalds or Wal-Mart. All of these companies push more stuff out the door faster than rivals and do so as cheap as possible. This is an art form and should be recognized as such.

Michael Dell is this generation's Ragged Dick - a man who would make Horatio Alger proud.

He worked hard to establish Dell's vaunted place in American history and his company's name should reflect this achievement. ®

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