Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Ma Bell Stifled Innovation, AT&T May Do the Same

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the that's-crazy-talk dept.

Wireless Networking 354

An anonymous reader writes "AT&T recently announced it plans to acquire T-Mobile to create the largest wireless network in the US. If the deal is allowed to complete, it will create only three major players in the industry with Verizon being a close second and Sprint being a distant third. Sprint, along with consumer rights groups, have already cried foul. They argue that AT&T's proposed acquisition will stifle competition and innovation."

cancel ×

354 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35653116)

Ever heard of "Bell Labs"?

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35653158)

Ever heard of "Bell Labs"?

Yeah, I've heard of them. Name ONE useful thing they've ever given us?

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (3, Insightful)

GKThursday (952030) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653212)

C

That's something we'd really miss if they left. . .

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (2)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653664)

And AT&T gave us C++

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (5, Informative)

jrmcferren (935335) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653220)

I can name two really quick. Transistors and UNIX.

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (3, Funny)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653598)

We got transistors from the alien craft that crashed at Roswell.

Don't they teach you anything in school?

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (1)

the_hellspawn (908071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653372)

Background radiation

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (2, Insightful)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653530)

No, the detection of the Background Radiation Signature from the Big Bang.

Bell Labs also didn't stifle innovation, they created lots of things that affected people's lives. The Buisness side of AT&T ran it as a pure monopoly and that's why we had a huge anti-trust case leading to the breakup of AT&T originally. Now we have the divested baby bells buying up the parent (SBC buying AT&T and then becoming the new AT&T) but in reality having three carriers for Wireless in this country is a bad thing.

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (5, Informative)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653390)

Here's a compiled list from a linked website. URL below.

Data Networking

Since the transmission of the first facsimile in 1925, Bell Labs has explored ways to use networks to deliver more than just voice traffic. In the late 1940s, researchers demonstrated the first long-distance remote operation of a computer by connecting a teletypewriter in New Hampshire with a computer in New York. Throughout the '80s and '90s, Bell Labs worked to increase modem speeds and pioneered the first trial of Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) technology. Today, DSL is becoming a popular way to transform regular copper phone lines into high-speed data connections, giving consumers faster access to the Internet.

The Transistor

Developed in 1947, as a replacement for bulky and inefficient vacuum tubes and mechanical relays, the transistor revolutionized the entire electronics world. The transistor sparked a new era of modern technical accomplishments from manned space flight and computers to portable radios and stereos. Today, billions of transistors are manufactured weekly.

Cellular Telephone Technology

In a paper in 1947 Bell Labs was the first to propose a cellular network. The primary innovation was the development of a network of small overlapping cell sites supported by a call switching infrastructure that tracks users as they moved through a network and pass their call from one site to another without dropping the connection. Bell Labs installed the first commercial cellular network in Chicago in the 1970s. Since then Bell Labs has continued to innovate in the wireless area, recently creating digital cellular telephone technology offering better sound quality, greater channel capacity, and lower cost.

Solar Cells

While there were theories and activities to harness the sun’s energy dating back to the 1800s, Bell Labs, in 1954, was the first to actually build a device that used the sun’s power to create practical amount of electricity.

Laser

The invention of the laser, which stands for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation,” can be dated to 1958 with the publication of a scientific paper by Bell Labs researchers. Lasers launched a new scientific field and opened the door to a multibillion-dollar industry that includes applications in medicine, communications, and consumer electronics.

Digital Transmission and Switching

In 1962, Bell Labs developed the first digitally multiplexed transmission of voice signals. This innovation not only created a more economical, robust and flexible network design for voice traffic, but also laid the groundwork for today's advanced network services such as 911, 800-numbers, call-waiting and caller-ID. In addition, digital networking was the foundation for the convergence of computing and communications.

Communications Satellites

Bell Labs was the pioneer in communications satellites. In 1962 it built and successfully launched the first orbiting communications satellite (Telstar I). Telstar was unique in that it had the ability to receive a signal, amplify it, and then transmitted it back to elsewhere on earth . . . which is, after all, the core of what a communications satellite does. This technology allowed telephones calls to be bounced from coast to coast and around the world. The satellite was powered by Bell Labs solar cells and transistors – two other Bell Labs pioneering inventions.

Touch-Tone Telephone

First introduced by Bell Labs in 1963, touch-tone replaced rotary dials. This ushered in a new generation of telephone services and capabilities including voice mail and telephone call center applications. In a recent survey of Americans, touch-tone dialing was named the most important business communications advance of the last century.

Unix Operating System and C Language

The Unix operating system and the C programming language, closely intertwined in both origin and impact, were created at Bell Labs between 1969 and 1972. Unix made large-scale networking of diverse computing systems - and the Internet - practical. The C language brought an unprecedented combination of efficiency and expressiveness to programming. Both made computing more "portable." Today, Unix is the operating system of most large Internet servers, as well as business and university systems; C and its descendants are the most widely used programming languages in the world.

Digital Signal Processor (DSP)

Bell Labs built the first single-chip digital signal processor in 1979. The DSP is the engine of today's multimedia revolution. DSP technology is in multimedia PCs and in the modems that connect computers to the Internet. It's in wireless phones, answering machines, and voice-mail; it's in video games talking toys, DVD players and digital cameras. And DSP chips are at the heart of a growing number of systems that talk to you in synthesized speech and recognize your spoken responses.

http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/wps/portal/!ut/p/kcxml/04_Sj9SPykssy0xPLMnMz0vM0Y_QjzKLd4w3MXMBSYGYRq6m-pEoYgbxjggRX4_83FT9IH1v_QD9gtzQiHJHR0UAaOmbyQ!!/delta/base64xml/L3dJdyEvd0ZNQUFzQUMvNElVRS82X0FfNDZL [alcatel-lucent.com]

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (5, Funny)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653418)

Yeah, there's that, but what else has Bell ever done for us?

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (0, Troll)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653490)

What, that's not enough? You are so spoiled. If it wasn't for them, you wouldn't have Internet access for there would be none. Even the home PC could have been set back another 10 years or more. The transistor changed everything.

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653570)

What, that's not enough?

No, we want more asbestos! (Two hints: 1. Monty Python's The Life of Brian. 2. The Simpsons. )

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (2)

fatherjoecode (1725040) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653588)

Not positive, but I think MadKeithV was paraphrasing Life of Brian:

"All right. But apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system, and public health... What have the Romans ever done for us?"

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35653812)

Gee, Captain Literal, you're going to get a stiff neck if you keep watching humor fly over your head like that....

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653550)

And it's been 30 years since they've done anything useful. Those base inventions don't make up for the amount of consumer abuse that they have caused, or will cause if this deal goes through.

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653592)

And it's been 30 years since they've done anything useful. Those base inventions don't make up for the amount of consumer abuse that they have caused, or will cause if this deal goes through.

Prove this.

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653586)

Solar cells.
Cellular telephones (they proposed this in 1947)
Lasers
Communications sattelites
Digital signal processing
CCDs
Radio astronomy

You were just being a jerk, I know.

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (1)

Peristaltic (650487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653822)

If there's no flying car, I'll pass.

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (1)

metalgamer84 (1916754) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653958)

Its not 2015 yet. Think McFly, think.

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653238)

Ever heard of "Bell Labs"?

Apparently not :) The collective memory of many slashdotrati doesn't go further back than the early google/amazon times, and only superficially so. Talk about Altavista and Lycos and that's just the stuff of legend. As for Bell Labs? For the collective fools, the universe didn't even existed back then!

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35653572)

God forbid you speak of Gopher or Usenet. How about this 300 baud modem from 1964 [youtube.com] ?

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (1)

trout007 (975317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653692)

300 baud! You bourgeoisie.I had to play Hunt the Wumpus with my TRS-80 with its 110 baud phone muff modem.

Age demographics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35653828)

Elementary, dear Watson. Older people generally are NOT tech-friendly, or should I say, nerd techs. It will take a while before today's addicted youths are old enough to have their own "collective memory". Meanwhile, age demographics place the bulk of mainstream users in the two brackets normally at 18-34 years old.

Also remember the "incubation" delay for a 'child' to have any brains AND curiosity to even find out about slashdot, let alone joining it. Suppose our "minimum" age is 12 --that reinforces your point. We do have plenty of older men here, but /. doesn't enforce an age check and wouldn't know our ages other than for old polls where small sample sizes, statistical self-selection problems, the need to pick cowboyneal-answers and the lack of incentive to be truthful would ensure this failed as a viable source. I still hate it when a site like Yahoo or Facebook asks for your full birthdate and gender.

See point #4 for FB age charts.
http://www.kenburbary.com/2010/01/dispelling-the-youth-myth-five-useful-facebook-demographic-statistics/
See this on how Linked In is surprisingly an older-person land.
http://www.penn-olson.com/2009/11/06/linkedin-39-facebook-33-twitter-31-myspace-26/

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (5, Insightful)

Zerth (26112) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653296)

Ever try to buy a 3rd party phone back in the day without paying an extra monthly fee for the privilege of hooking it up to the Bell system? Or buy a phone at all, for that matter, instead of leasing it for an exorbitant monthly fee?

That kind of shenanigans paid for all that innovation.

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35653408)

That kind of shenanigans paid for all that innovation.

And we were far better off for all that innovation.

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35653614)

Ever try to buy a 3rd party phone back in the day without paying an extra monthly fee for the privilege of hooking it up to the Bell system? Or buy a phone at all, for that matter, instead of leasing it for an exorbitant monthly fee?

Yes, so did lots of other people. I also ran my own extra phone outlets. Then again, I also got shocked at a friends who had crossed the yellow/black power lines with the red/green signal lines, so I can understand their concerns. Besides which, the "shenanigans" you mention were ended before the break-up. The main shenanigan going on was overpricing interstate technically, inter-area code) long distance to subsidize local long distance.

Post break-up we had innovations like slamming, where people were assigned to long distance carriers charging 10 times the going rate against their will, and monthly charges for the privledge of being able to call long distance.

.

Which isn't to say I'm against the break-up, the long term net effect has been positive, but there have been plenty of issues and there really hasn't been much innovation in the local market created by the break-up. VOIP & cable-company alternatives are competition now, but saying they arrived because of the breakup is a stretch (helped perhaps, because the ownership of the wires in your house had been carified, etc).

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653840)

Bell Labs innovated, AT&T, the Gov't sanctioned monopoly was, uhm, a monopoly. The two are not the same thing, and the ability to buy a third-party phone wasn't that big a deal "at the time". Western Electric made nearly any phone you could want, and they sold "interface boxes" for those you wanted to buy from third-parties (like answering machines, etc.).

AT&T had a GUARANTEED profit that was calculated off of expenses - that is why they poured so much money into research back in the day, they got a couple pennies/a nickle back in profit for every dollar they spent on infrastructure, billing, and research.

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653450)

Ever heard of "Bell Labs"?

Yes, I have heard of Lucent Technologies.

They managed to avoid becoming part of the new AT&T by merging with Alcatel.

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35653606)

Read "The Master Switch" by Tim Wu. Bell absolutely stifled innovation. Things like packet switching and answering machines (just to name a few) were buried by AT&T for years because they had the ability to disrupt their highly profitable business.

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (5, Informative)

travisb828 (1002754) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653746)

That AT&T died in 2005 when it was bought by SBC. The new AT&T is SBC with the AT&T name, and Bell Labs was spun off in 1996 by the original AT&T to become Lucent. Lucent was then merged with Alcatel to become Alcatel-Lucent. Meanwhile the Bell Labs Holmdel Complex [wikipedia.org] is sitting vacant.

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653820)

Yes, a research division that the US federal government forced AT&T to fund as a condition of being allowed to keep their monopoly.

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (5, Insightful)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653850)

Just because they produced some innovative ideas (and they did, which I don't want to marginalize) does not mean that they didn't stifle innovation from others through anti-competitive practices. Otherwise, we could make the same argument of any monopoly that has an R&D department, even as they're squashing all of the innovative startups that have ideas which would completely change the game.

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653942)

Bell labs (like Xerox PARC) was a fantastic institution which created many advances and some of them actually escaped since they were insanely good.

However, the old "Ma Bell" was firmly in the "you can have any telephone you want as long as it is black" camp. "We're the phone company, we don't care; we don't have to care".

Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (1)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653950)

Wasn't there a reason that AT&T was broke up in the first place?

Teddy Roosevelt is rolling in his grave (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653132)

That it's even an open question shows how far from actual trustbusting we have gone.

Even as a libertarian, I see this, just as all democracies (as opposed to republics) devolve, so does uncheck capitalism - always in the direction of corporate socialism (rent-seeking, bailouts, etc.)

Trustbusting? (2)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653276)

That it's even an open question shows how far from actual trustbusting we have gone.

Maybe the problem is too much trustmaking (restricted licensing, monopoly granting, etc.)

"corporate socialism" (0, Troll)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653278)

Please dont invent terms out of your ass. Corporatism has no relevance with socialism and it cannot be merged with the the other term.

you americans tend to invent a lot of misplaced, incorrect termage in your own jargon and try to sell it to entire world. in this case, some half assed, INCORRECT and irrelevant 'term' invented by some americans, in the name of 'corporate socialism'.

really ?

socialism, is owning of means of production AND the profits, equally by the PEOPLE participating in the system.

how much does the employees of at&t own at&t ? or, does its majority share rest in the hands of a handful of people, AND, the rest in the hands of some hundred thousand wealthy people, a minority being distributed among the random shareholder ?

do at&t employees join in decision making process of at&t democratically, and does the corporation guarantee their livelihood, their healthcare, their kids' education, their rent, their entertainment expenses, and their own education ?

this is what socialism is.

you people are appending the word socialism to something else because word 'socialism' is a scare word in us political jargon. while rest of the world knows the term for its real meaning.

you dont even take the time to check what you are saying, and see whether you are coining a term right or wrong, even at the wake of blatant incorrectness.

there is NOTHING called "corporate socialism" its an american invented scare word, designed to scare people away from corporate greed. and it is INCORRECT

the term you looking for, was corporate fascism.

Re:"corporate socialism" (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653370)

Corporatism has no relevance with socialism and it cannot be merged with the the other term.

Corporate Welfare then. I don't know if "corporate fascism" as you suggest quite makes sense.

Re:"corporate socialism" (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653654)

Corporate Welfare then. I don't know if "corporate fascism" as you suggest quite makes sense.

Of course it does, at least according to the lead of Wikipedia's article about fascism [wikipedia.org] : "Fascists seek to organize a nation according to corporatist perspectives, values, and systems, including the political system and the economy (Wiarda 1996, p. 12)."

Re:"corporate socialism" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35653396)

Whatever...
  Now go to London in case you missed the latest demonstrations. I hope you'll get your head smashed by the British Police.
 

Re:"corporate socialism" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35653436)

Thank you,

As an American who has watched our nation's slide into fascism over the 60 years of my lifetime, I'm often appalled by my fellow citizen's lack of historical perspective and understanding of economics.

Re:"corporate socialism" (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653524)

they are just cozy with believing what they are told and parroting others. thats their problem. they do not dare wander out of their comfort and safety zone and do research.

Re:"corporate socialism" (1)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653438)

In my defense, I'm an American, and I know the meaning of the word socialism. It's a pretty broad and unfair generalization to look at some ignorant fools who happen to be Americans and paint our whole society as a bunch of ignorant fools. If you live outside the US, then you probably only see the products of our media, which is squarely aimed at ignorant fools. That doesn't mean we're all that way. I'm sure I could come to whatever country you live in and find a few people who don't know the meaning of words, or who believe what your media tells them regardless of its veracity.

but (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653508)

the more your kind keeps silent, the more the other kind, fooled ignorant masses, speak up. and the ones herding them get encouraged and bolder.

Re:"corporate socialism" (1, Funny)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653500)

You have confused Socialism and Communism. Please go fuck off and kill yourself and your family. The World will thank you.

Re:"corporate socialism" (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653574)

No. you have confused socialism and social democracy. it is appalling how daring and aggressively you speak. maybe that boldness is coming from your ignorance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_democracy [wikipedia.org]

however, EVEN in this case, it is still impossible to call what the grandgrandparent was trying to picture as social democracy even. because it doesnt have any relevance to that either.

unbelievable how bold and ignorant some of you people can be. you dont know what is what, yet you are WAY too bold. why.

Re:"corporate socialism" (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653560)

You are correct. The correct term for "corporate socialism" is fascism (not corporate fascism). Of course the difference between fascism and socialism is just one of degree. Both believe that some policy wonk knows better than you what is best for you. There is nothing about socialism that involves democracy, although socialism could be established in a democracy where the people elect who tells them how to live their lives The biggest success of the left was defining fascism as the opposite end of the spectrum from communism, leaving all of the true alternatives to state control completely off of the political spectrum.

Re:"corporate socialism" (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653658)

Both believe that some policy wonk knows better than you what is best for you

so, basically, you dont know what socialism is ? and then you produce bullshit about 'some policy wonk' ? "there is nothing about socialism that involves democracy"

in socialism, the decision making is dispersed. everyone participates in decision making, as opposed to the best democracy. the 'policy wonk' there, cannot decide what is 'best for you' by himself. people, in a fashion closer to direct democracy, decide what the policy should be, and the 'policy wonk' you made out of your ass is tasked with applying that policy. he cannot decide the policy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism [wikipedia.org]

actually i know you from earlier discussions as being a right wing zealot. this reply a waste even in itself, wasted on some moron that can dub 'there is nothing about socialism that involves democracy', despite the very DEFINITION of socialism is everyone participating in the decision making process for EVERYthing, including resource production.

let me tell you what your real problem is ; you dont want to be bound by the collective will of the society you are living in. you are wanting to make use of every means that the society provides you, but you dont want your society to have ANY clout over you. and you think that this is 'freedom'.

that freedom is something you can only get on a mountain top, alone. as long as you are in a social environment, you will be bound by people, and people will be bound by you.

and no, the 'system' you think you have in america currently doesnt do anything about it. it just lets your freedom fall in the hands of the few, who are more powerful than you, while having you live in the illusion that you are not bound by the society you are living in. whereas, at every step you take, you still are.

notice that i may not waste a second reply on you. the last thing i may tell you, is to stop talking bullshit about things you do not know, if you are able to research and learn. and you look well capable of learning. so, you have no excuse.

Re:"corporate socialism" (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653728)

Going too far in either direction leads to authoritarian systems. Reasonable alternatives exist on the spectrum, but you won't find them at either extreme. That said, a single line is insufficient to define political systems (even a 2-D grid has some weaknesses), but approaching the edge of just about any spectrum (1-D or 2-D) will eventually circle back to authoritarianism, in practice. Too much freedom allows for monopolies to develop and a corporate oligarchy to replace (de facto if not de jure) the existing government, while too little freedom leads there directly (it doesn't really matter whether you call it communism or fascism, the end result is that people have little say in their own lives).

Re:"corporate socialism" (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653778)

Before you ask, no this wasn't always the case. Before we spread to every corner of the globe, you usually had the opportunity to opt out of government entirely by leaving existing civilization. The options on that front have largely disappeared, unless you really like the coast of Antarctica as a home.

Re:"corporate socialism" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35653612)

Who owns the risk? If AT&T goes belly up, with it's thousands of employees, you better believe that the American government is going to step in and protect communications in the same way that we protected transportation and banking.

Corporate risk is socialized.

I've always heard that capitalism is risking your capital to gain more. When a company attains a certain size (especially when entrusted with so much of the public's well-being), the public insures it won't fail.

And that's what the OP meant by corporate socialism. When the public insures the success of a corporation.

But we can call it something else, if you like? I think socialism is clear, but you seem to think that "corporate greed" is somehow a good thing?

Re:"corporate socialism" (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653672)

corporate fascism maybe.

Wrong, read up. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653976)

Ralph Nader Coined it. read the link and note that this was before the current economic issues.

http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0718-02.htm [commondreams.org]

"Corporate socialism" -- the privatization of profit and the socialization of risks and misconduct

You and I and everyone bears the effects of the risk of large corporation. Everyone on of us ends up paying. That's the socialism part.

here are some more socialisms:
Revolutionary socialism
State socialism
Libertarian socialists
Utopian socialists
Market socialism

You might want to take some time and deconstruct the words Social, socialist, and socialism. Or, you know keep looking like an idiot.

Re:Teddy Roosevelt is rolling in his grave (1)

elfprince13 (1521333) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653534)

Capitalism is great, but when you give corporations too much power (over individuals - see also "Corporate Personhood") the fundamental premise that people can be greedy equally falls apart. The roll of government in the economy should be to maintain competition, rather than to grant monopolies (patents, etc).

Re:Teddy Roosevelt is rolling in his grave (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653642)

It is easy enough to reason and conclude that the natural end product of a free market always will be a monopoly.
That the people on the right are both in favour of big corporations and against regulation should come as no surprise.

The only way a free market can work in favour of the consumer is if the free market is heavily regulated, and prevented from anti-competitive behaviour, including eating your smaller peers, subsidizing parts of your business to outcompete someone who can't afford the same, or give money to lawmakers ("campaign contributions" - call it what it is: bribes) to pass laws favouring big business, often by introducing regulatory costs so others can't afford the entry ticket.

It's not rocket science, but then again it's not housewives of New York either.

on the other hand (3, Interesting)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653152)

Stuff never broke, you knew that your neighbor wasn't getting a better deal, and you didn't have to worry about sevrice or dropped calls; ma bells team of engineers and workers kept stuff running smoothly
And, as anyone who travels abroad knows, the supposed "benefits" of competition don't seem so good: in those awful socialist countrys like france, they have, and have had for many years, superior telecoms.
Of course, when the CEO of Verizon makes 18 or 20 million dollars a year, he has an incentive to hire (on Verizon's nickel) economists and journalists to tell the world how great competition and the unbridled capitlism are...

Re:on the other hand (1)

thynk (653762) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653348)

I'm glad you have good service in France. I cannot say the same when I lived in Germany. Their landline service was spotty at best and frightfully expensive. It's a source of amusement to me that everything Tmobile is in the US, DT wasn't in Germany.

Re:on the other hand (4, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653596)

US wireless providers are to competition what diarrhea is to shit. It may be competition, but it's not particularly healthy.

Re:on the other hand (1)

tanujt (1909206) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653698)

Stuff never broke, you knew that your neighbor wasn't getting a better deal, and you didn't have to worry about sevrice or dropped calls; ma bells team of engineers and workers kept stuff running smoothly

And soon (and by soon I mean in a hundred years), you forgot what "smooth" service was. Because you had nothing to compare it to. Relatively, it was absolutely the best.

Monopoly? (5, Interesting)

WonderingAround (2007742) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653154)

In Canada you have a lot more choice in providers, most of the American companies are available as well as Rogers and Bell, i guess it's just better, like our healthcare...

Re:Monopoly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35653322)

You have rogers, bell and telus and others who rent capacity from the formers. How is that better?

Re:Monopoly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35653470)

LOL, choices? So three different cellphone carriers (Rogers, Bell, Telus) is competition? I'm not going to include the 0.05% of land mass that covered by different providers. And, if you go by population, the 20% that have more choices. And, no, fake carriers like Fido and Virgin are exactly that: Fake. They're just Rogers and Bell brands.

What American cell companies are available in Canada? That's actually illegal to offer here. The CRTC doesn't allow enough foreign ownership (IIRC, the maximum foreign ownership is between 10% - 30%) to call any company non-Canadian. The only exception (made by the federal government, overturning the CRTC) was wind mobile, and the CRTC even managed to have that overturned and as such the company is swirling the drain.

"Argue" (4, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653156)

Whats there to be argue. if there is a SINGLE provider monopoly in a nation, more than innovation is stifled. Not even right wing economists argue against that anymore.

Re:"Argue" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35653888)

Now if only the left wing economists got the memory w.r.t. the health care and housing markets.

There will be plenty of innovation... (1)

aapold (753705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653180)

Just less of the technical sort, and more of the "how can we take your money" sort.

have things really got worse over last 20 years? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653188)

i remember the days when we had a dozen cell carriers in the US. expensive service, crappy reception almost everywhere you went. as the competition dried up we've had prices drop and better phones come out. 10 years ago when i got my first cell phone in the US i paid $40 a month for 450 minutes. these days the same $40 buys you 450 minutes but the night/weekend minutes and anyone on the same carrier is free minutes. and with some plans you can call any mobile number and not use up your minutess

and 10 years ago i had to buy my phone for $200. these days i can get a "free" smartphone when signing up for a contract. only thing that changed was that the contracts went to 2 years

Re:have things really got worse over last 20 years (2)

JLennox (942693) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653340)

>> i remember the days when we had a dozen cell carriers in the US. expensive service, crappy reception almost everywhere you went. as the competition dried up we've had prices drop and better phones come out.

My first computer ran Doom like a slide show and cost $3,000. I bought an iPod Video for $40 recently, with hacked firmware it runs Doom smoothly. This is the result of technology progressing, not with removal of competition.

I had Comcast cable internet for around 5 years because there was nothing else but even worse DSL in my area. They gave me 50kbytes/s upload and 750kbyte/s download. 2 months before Verizon installed FiOS lines in my area the upload jumped to 200kbyte/s and the download to 1.5mbyte/s.

Hotmail gave you 10mb disk space for eons. Gmail came out then Yahoo and Microsoft had to change.

As long as there is competition, even if it's just 2 mega-corps battling it out, companies can not sit still and must continue to innovate/advance.

Re:have things really got worse over last 20 years (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653764)

The problem is that most urban areas in the US have at least 2 choices of ISP, the problem is that they've figured out that they don't have to compete, they just can't discuss it or make it formal. Any competition you see is going to be pretty superficial. Around here we've got Qwest and Comcast. I suppose you could include Clear and Hughes, but nobody does as the latency is even worse.

But, they've figured out that they don't have to compete with each other which means that we're now in the situation where the speed hasn't increased more than nominally in a decade and for the price in other parts of the country we could get a much, much faster connection. But we're poking along at 5mbps and feeling lucky because other parts of the city can't even get that.

Re:have things really got worse over last 20 years (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653702)

I don't think that's a fair comparison to make. The main reason why coverage is better now than it was in the 80s and early 90s is because technology has advanced that much and there are more towers, there's absolutely no reason why we couldn't have a dozen or more cell phone carriers all jacked into the same network, that's managed either collectively or by another company that bids to provide the service on a regular basis for whatever region.

Re:have things really got worse over last 20 years (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653722)

All that is do to manufacturing and technology innovation done outside of the phone companies.

Of course, what do you mean by worse? is price the only factor? phone quality has gone down. meaning how people sound.

Doubling contract length is no little thing either.

Here is the biggy for my: It's fragmenting. Phone service being offered by Apple aren't compatible with other devices and this is extremely bad.

20 years ago, if you introduced a phone whose featured could only be shared with people who bought the same phones you would be laughed at and possible sued unless you made the standard available for others to implement. Under that way, anyone could create a phone that could also be used with face time. That was the only reason we could have a phone service where anyone could communicate with anyone else regardless of where they bought their phone, or who the provider was.

So while I can get more features for the same price, other areas are getting worse.

But..... (1)

donny77 (891484) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653234)

I am an AT&T Wireless customer as they have good coverage in my area. Mobile to mobile and roll over keep me "loyal." I was initially against this merger, however I read some articles that changed my mind. First T-Mobile has no 4G Spectrum. All the 4G spectrum was sold to Verizon, Sprint and AT&T who acquired theirs from Nextel. The monopoly is created by the spectrum requirements, not the companies themselves. The government messed this up and T-mobile has no opportunity to continue competing.

It makes no sense for Sprint or Verizon to buy T-mobile as the technologies are incompatible. AT&T on the other hands needs more towers and they take time to approve. Acquiring them from T-mobile will speed up the deployment of more radios.

If you want true competition, the government needs to stop selling the spectrum, and instead pay for the infrastructure and let the companies all provide competing services over the same infrastructure. It does not make sense to force T-mobile to compete in a 4G world with 3G service.

Re:But..... (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653318)

Doesn't T-Mobile have a bunch of 4G commercials? Ones where they trash AT&T for only having 3G? Either I'm misremembering or that's an 'interesting' set of commercials.

Re:But..... (1)

donny77 (891484) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653736)

Their 4G is not LTE. It is HSDPA+. They can only call it 4G due to the regulations changing to throughput instead of technology. This is fine right now, but once LTE is readily available, their "4G" will be clearly inferior due to technological limitations.

HSPA+ (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653826)

Doesn't T-Mobile have a bunch of 4G commercials?

The fine print on T-Mobile's "4G" commercials states that T-Mobile's 4G is HSPA+ [wikipedia.org] .

Re:But..... (2)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653526)

I agree with your last point but the "T-mobile has no 4G spectrum" is just a PR talking point from the merger slides. T-mobile does have extra spectrum and was providing HSPA+ on it which was faster than most of the competitors and had potential for 42Mbps -- clearly fast enough to compete. 4G/3G (now marketing terms) doesnt (in general) require specific frequency either AFAIK (other than not overlapping other frequencies/and providing a large enough band). So there is no specific "4G spectrum" rather there is just spectrum and the different technologies.

In our conversation, Ray noted there is a very good chance that U.S. consumers will be disappointed by the LTE roll out, mostly because Verizon and AT&T don’t have enough spectrum.

“Our competitors are launching LTE in fairly limited bandwidths of spectrum,” he pointed out. “So, 10 to 20 megahertz of LTE spectrum doesn’t give you a significant benefit in any manner, or form, from a performance perspective over and above HSPA+.”
...
“We have clean, uncluttered, untouched spectrum that we can leverage to support growth in smartphones and other devices into over the coming months and years,” Ray said. T-Mobile USA, he continued, has used only about a third of about 6030 MHz of spectrum it acquired for roughly $2.64 billion in the 2006 AWS auction. This gives them ample room to upgrade to 42 megabit per second capability next year, Ray pointed out.

From: T-Mobile USA CTO Disses AT&T, LTE and WiMAX [gigaom.com]

Re:But..... (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653638)

", the government needs to stop selling the spectrum, "
That would be bad. The things the government do are there for a reason, so look into WHY something is done before arguing it should be changed.

I will agree how they are doing that is fundamentally broke.

As a T-Mobile customer (1)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653252)

... if this deal goes through, I'll probably switch to Verizon whenever my current phone is obsoleted or dies.
All companies are evil, but AT&T has a track record of having really crappy Android handsets while T-Mobile has a track record of having the best.

Re:As a T-Mobile customer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35653970)

You must not have been a Verizon customer in the past 5-7 years or you'd know what crappy (and crippled) handsets are. Just wait until you see what Verizon has planned for Android.

T-Mobile is the only provider ... (4, Interesting)

querist (97166) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653260)

T-Mobile is the only provider that I've found in the USA that does not truncate the high bit on text messages. I can send text messages in Chinese and Japanese with my unlocked iPhone on T-Mobile. AT&T and Sprint clip the high bit. I hope AT&T won't screw up T-Mobile's network.

Re:T-Mobile is the only provider ... (5, Funny)

revlayle (964221) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653582)

This is kind of like saying "I hope Darth Vader doesn't force-choke me"

Boo-hoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35653360)

Cry me a river. The wireless world ain't the wired world. Much lower barriers to competition, much more room for technical innovation, must faster pace. Let one big wireless company run amok, and it won't be long before it's gone on its own. Let the government into the living room, however, and you won't be able to get them out with a crowbar. I mean, it's government's fault in the first place, lest we forget. If spectrum were largely unregulated the market would have already solved that problem with technology, and we'd likely have 20 players instead of 3.

Re:Boo-hoo (1)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653458)

Bullshit.

You have to buy spectrum and that isn't cheap. Just look at how much the FCC rakes in for the feds in those auctions and then tell me that the barriers are low.

Re:Boo-hoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35653610)

Don't forget cell towers. They take time to approve too.

Re:Boo-hoo (1)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653634)

If spectrum were unregulated, you wouldn't be able to make a call because every tom, dick, harry, fong, dieter, and sandeep would be broadcasting willy-nilly on whatever spectrum they liked and your phone calls would be interrupted with snatches of porn. Let one big wireless company run amok, and it would be like AT&T prior to 1984 when they charged a dollar a minute for long distance service and if you didn't like it then you didn't call long distance.

Stifled, Crushed and Abused their Monopoly (1)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653440)

Yes, it seems that the old AT&T is back. Instead of spending the billions they're putting up for T-Mobile in network improvements, they're just going to buy out the competition. AT&T's Wireless Network sucks, their wired service sucks (I deal with their business units all the time) and it's not like you have a lot of choice out there.

I'm sorry, but I remember having to spend $800/month for a 300 Baud Modem back in the 70s. You could only get it from AT&T and you could only lease it. For those who don't remember what those days are like, just give us a few more years and it will be back but this time Wireless will be in the hands of two carriers in this country, Verizon and AT&T and having been customers of the "New AT&T ala the SBC bought out AT&T" and Verizon I can tell you we're all fucked.

Government stifles innovation (3, Informative)

darjen (879890) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653488)

Re:Government stifles innovation (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653834)

You could at least link to credible sources if you're going to bother. The Cato institute is a well known conservative think tank that openly advocates for conservative policies, whether or not there's any basis in fact for doing so.

The problem with monopolies is that while most of them were created intentionally through government action, that's no longer the case, most of them form from the failure of the government to step in and break them up. In fact the DoJ under Bush didn't even acknowledge that corporations could get too big, hence the final stage of our bubble before the epic recession started.

The example in TFA is just silly (5, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653512)

The article claims that Bell stifled innovation by choosing not to bring an invention made by a company employee to market, in this case magnetic tape audio recording. That's such an overblown reading of the event that it's laughable. Companies create ideas all the time they decide not to productize because they're not really in their core business, because they fear (rightly or wrongly) that they'll will have a negative impact on that core business. In this case it was both.

In any case, magnetic audio tape was invented in Germany in the prior decade, and magnetic wire recording technology had existed since the 1890s and was widely commercialized in the 1920s.

On the other hand, in Ma Bell's tenure we had the development of Unix, computer networking, and satellite telephony, in which the company paid key roles. The break-up of the Bell System was motivated in part by the hypothesis that competition would bring new technologies like digital telephony (in this case ISDN) to market faster. While nobody can say what would have happened without the break up, on that goal at least the break up could not be called a success.

The result of the break-up wasn't rapid technological innovation; it was price competition. That was a good thing. By in large the AT&T monopoly worked very well, within the expected limitations of any such regulated monopoly. We had *excellent* telephone service for the era, but it was much more expensive than it might have been. Under the covers it was quite technologically advanced. Ma Bell designed the multiplexed digital transmission system (the T Carrier system) that is still used in North America today back in the 1950s, and did early deployments as early as 1961. The commercial adoption of the Internet occurred a decade after the break up of the Bell System in 1984, but it was based on the T Carrier system and its refinements, all designed and implemented by the Bell system in the 60s and 70s, *before* the break-up.

Which is not to say that monopolies are necessarily a good thing. It was good that the break up lowered long distance prices. Nor are such monopolies always technical successes (BT comes to mind). It is even possible that the columnist is right, and that the Bell System *did* somehow stifle innovation, despite the historical fact of all the innovations it brought to market as a monopoly. The problem is his argument, which is pure, ignorant BS.

Re:The example in TFA is just silly (1)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653768)

The result of the break-up wasn't rapid technological innovation; it was price competition. That was a good thing. By in large the AT&T monopoly worked very well, within the expected limitations of any such regulated monopoly. We had *excellent* telephone service for the era, but it was much more expensive than it might have been. Under the covers it was quite technologically advanced. .

Without doubt AT&T did have advanced technology but it was "their technology" and a lot of it was beyond patent age, meaning others could innovate or improve upon it. It wasn't also just price competition it was access. For example, after the AT&T ruling you could actually get access to AT&T telephone poles to hang your own fiber optic cables, Something Sprint was barred from. You see AT&T using public rights of way put up telephone poles. Well, they took exception if "their poles on public rights of way" were used by competition. Yes, lots of Fiber was buried underground but there were lots of anti-competitive things AT&T did to insure that they were the only telecommunications carrier.

But let's also not forget those $.50 / minute long distance calls in the US. Oh yeah, it was price and monopoly and AT&T was raking it in. It seems now that if the New AT&T has Billions to spend on T-Mobile then they haven't been suffering, only their customers with crappy service.

Don't forget the new land line caps! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35653532)

They don't have a monopoly yet and are imposing these for the sole purpose of stifling online video providers versus their "Multiverse".

I hate to break the mind set at /. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653604)

but Ma Bell did a HELL OF A LOT of innovating. All thjose service you take for granted? pretty much invented by Me Bell.
Call forwarding - yep.
Call waiting - yep
Central voice mail - yep
star 69 - yep
answering machine - yep
magnetic storage tape - yep
insulated telephone wires - yep
and I could go on and on.

Ma Bell also gave it's Scientist a ton of freedom to innovate.

Ma Bells problem was in customer service. If they had spent more money in getting rid of the multi hour lines, and creating good call in phone service they would still be around.

Of course the new AT&T his stating to show all those problems and very little innovation.

Re:I hate to break the mind set at /. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653848)

Admittedly it's impossible to answer, but the question really ought to be whether Ma Bell was more or less innovative than the number of companies that would have done the work otherwise in trying to elbow each other out of the market.

Blame Apple (1)

Readycharged (2023636) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653630)

Read somewhere that it was the iPhone tie-in with AT&T that sounded the death knell for T-Mobile in the States. Their contract sales went down the toilet after the thing was launched....

T-Mobile Customer Point Of View (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35653684)

I have been with T-Mobile for a few years now and I oppose this merger because of the following reasons.

1. T-Mobile is the #1 carrier in customer service and AT&Terrible (who I left to go to T-Mobile) sucks at customer service.
2. T-Mobile doesn't throttle their data plans like AT&T and they allow Tethering and make no attempt to block it unlike AT&T
3. T-Mobile has some of the most competitive pricing I have an unlimited everything plan that T-Mobile just started offering and I only pay 99.00 a month with that said I agree with the stifle competition statement because AT&T doesn't offer anything even comparable to the plan I am on. The next closest is Sprint but their unlimited only includes mobile to mobile no lanlines.

So, in my opinion AT&T can go f*&^ theirselves and if they do end up getting their way with this merger I will be going straight to Sprint and I assure AT&T that most T-Mobile customers will most likely be leaving as well because T-Mobile customers are used to being treated like people and not like customer numbers like AT&T treats thier customers.

Nit (4, Informative)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653872)

The company called "AT&T" is not, was not, and has only a tenuous relationship with the entity "Ma Bell," American Telephone a Telegraph. The company called AT&T is actually the old SBC, Southwestern Bell Communications, one of the RBOCs, that took over AT&Ts name and trademarks after buying the AT&T Corporation in 2005.

Some numbers (2)

kyle5t (1479639) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653894)

The FTC uses the Herfindahl index [wikipedia.org] to evaluate market competitiveness. Using just the top 5 carriers (the big four and Tracfone), the current index is 1810 (market share data from here [afterdawn.com] ).

'According to the DOJ-FTC 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines, the agencies will regard a market in which the post-merger HHI is below 1500 as "unconcentrated," between 1500 and 2500 as "moderately concentrated," and above 2500 as "highly concentrated." A merger potentially raises "significant competitive concerns" if it produces an increase in the HHI of more than 200 points in a moderately concentrated market or more than 100 points in a highly concentrated market. A merger is presumed "likely to enhance market power" if it produces an increase in the HHI of more than 200 points in a highly concentrated market.'

So by their own definition this merger will raise "significant competitive concerns" since the HHI will increase by 650 points to 2460. With all the other little guys added in, it is fair to say that the final number would be more than 2500, i.e. "highly concentrated."

Resist the Merger (2)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653906)

I'm a T-mobile customer with a Nexus S phone that I bought 2 weeks ago. I have learned that my phone won't work on the AT&T network -- at least not for data. That phone cost me over $600 with tax and accessories. It's supposed to take awhile for regulatory review and there's supposed to be some phase out period blah blah blah but I'm losing roughly half of the useful life of my phone -- and I'm the kind of guy that hangs onto my gadgets for a long time so this pisses me off. I cannot switch to another provider in the US because there will be no other GSM provider. If I choose a CDMA provider then my phone won't work abroad.

More importantly, my bill right now for unlimited minutes and 5GB of data per month (one GB more than AT&T's top-of-the-line data plan) plus 400 text messages is a mere $95 per month -- and that's the whole bill taxes and all. I'm not sure how much that'll go up because when I called AT&T to inquire about rates, the poor girl on the phone couldn't figure it out due to the byzantine service options/restrictions imposed by management. From the information I did get, I believe I can expect this to increase to anywhere between $125 and $150 *before* taxes.

T-Mobile is the low cost leader in our phone market. They provide excellent customer service. The were the first to offer an Android phone. AT&T was the last. For those who moan about big government hampering business, I invite you to prepare yourself to deal with the bureaucratic nightmare that AT&T will become. When you are only one of 130 million customers, dealing with your phone company is going to make a trip to the DMV feel like a vacation.

And by the way, I've been to AT&T's headquarters in New Jersey. I attended a business meeting there in the mid 90's as a management consultant. The building was in the middle of a *private golf course* left over from the monopoly days when a long distance call cost around a dollar a minute. The so-called strategists that we met with had no clue what the Internet was all about. In those days, the only reason AT&T was making money was because they had millions of aging customers who didn't realize that they could switch to a different long distance provider and slash their bill by roughly 75%.

This merger sucks for all of us except the fat cats at the top of AT&T and T-Mobile.

Cue the goobers (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 3 years ago | (#35653926)

Cue the horde of libertarians who think that it's Ma Bell's *right* to stifle innovation and how dare anyone criticise them!

AT&T - Ma Bell in a new dress? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35653960)

the "new" AT&T was originally Southwestern Bell, which was one of the original "Baby Bells" after the breakup. The bell doesn't fall too far from the bell tower...

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>