Matsushita: The Electronic Giant Wakes Up

It's getting lean, going digital--and worrying Sony

For years, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., the world's largest consumer-electronics maker, never got much respect. Compared with the hip, innovative Sony Corp., Matsushita and its stable of Panasonic-brand TVs and VCRs looked like a lumbering giant trying to follow the leader. In the tradition of large Japanese manufacturers, it let front-runners set the trends. Then it simply reproduced the technology.

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