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!

Baby Bells Open to Antitrust Lawsuits

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the form-a-line-at-the-courthouse-door dept.

The Courts 146

jobugeek writes "A New York appeals court has opened up the abililty for consumers to sue the Baby Bells for antitrust violations. The question now is, will anyone try to."

cancel ×

146 comments

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

Machine Sex (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745203)

I like to have sex with vacuum cleaners. Not to mention drain pipes.

Please, won't you hug a root (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745469)

Take some time this weekend to hug a root.

first p0ts (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745205)

etc

Gay Gay Gay Gay Gay fhdsjahfjsdh fjksd hfjds sd (-1)

Stock Quote Troll (583080) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745207)

Stupid fucking 20 second rule...that is just GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY!

Re:Gay Gay Gay Gay Gay fhdsjahfjsdh fjksd hfjds sd (-1)

Sexual Asspussy (453406) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745229)

tell it like it is!

It's been 11 seconds since you hit reply!

Re:Gay Gay Gay Gay Gay fhdsjahfjsdh fjksd hfjds sd (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745512)

You're both faggots! Film at eleven.

Pirst Fost! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745208)

Oh yea, I am anonymous and proud of it!

Re:Pirst Fost! (-1)

k0osh.CEOofCLIT (582286) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745444)

anonymously homosekulle

I declare Sue-War on Baby Bells! (3, Funny)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745216)

Right now! I got the RIAA's, Microsoft's and O.J.'s lawyers. Should be interesting.

Re:I declare Sue-War on Baby Bells! (1)

Raster Burn (213891) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745234)

Right now! I got the RIAA's, Microsoft's and O.J.'s lawyers. Should be interesting.

You mean they're in the same room? Quick, someone hack into a DoD computer and launch the nukes!

Lead thousands of target customers by key word fo (-1)

GhostseTroll (582659) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745390)

GREATEST FREE STUFFS [goatse.cx]

More than 120,000,000 addresses all over the world
Top 20 search engine positioning software

Updated fresh email addresses every week

Bulk email addresses retrieving software from web

eBooks + weekly email marketing news letters + much more

A TRUE and ULTIMATE email marketing tools

BULK EMAIL SERVER on your desktop PC
BULK EMAIL HARVESTER from industrial DB

BULK EMAIL RETRIEVER from news groups

BULK EMAIL COLLECTER from DB of cities, states and countries in the world

NEWS LETTER CASTER to news groups of 1,800/hour

It's totally FREE !!!

EMAIL LIST MANAGING SOFTWARE
EMAIL ADDRESSES RETRIEVER from web

It's totally FREE !!!

TAKE FREE STUFFS of $1,367 value from GOLD PACKAGE
TAKE FREE STUFFS of $772 value from BRONZE PACKAGE

We guarantee you of the greatest benefits of bulk email campigning

ONLY with our software and services

Click here

to continue

ccs21@theemailtools.com

http://www.theemailtools.com

This message is sent in compliance of the new e-mail bill: SECTION 301. Per Section 301, paragraph (a)(2)(C) of S. 1618. This message is not Spam as long as you are provided with a way to remove your name from this mailing list. All further transmissions to you from us may be stopped at no cost to you by sending a Reply to this letter with the word "remove" in the Subject line.

Or just click back. We ALWAYS respect REMOVE requests!

Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by V3Pro 2002 system

Re:I declare Sue-War on Baby Bells! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745403)

SBC SUCKS!! There is no "baby" about this Bell. It's just Ma Bell all over again.

SBC Swallows!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745414)

SBC SWALLOWS!! There is no "baby" about this Bell. It's just Ma Bell all over again.

They have NO ethics and NO customer service!!!

LET'S SUE THEM!

James Earl Jones sounds worried (4, Funny)

Roosey (465478) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745224)

Well, it looks like Verizon's finally open to being sued for monopolistic practices.

Lawyers to Verizon: "Can you hear us now? Good..." :]

Verizon, SBC, and others in trouble (2, Insightful)

timothy_m_smith (222047) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745298)

While ending AT&T's monopoly on phone service in the 80's has been great for the telecom industry, there is certainly a lot to be desired. What I'm wondering is if the ability to sue the Baby Bells will end up being a vehicle to change the fundamental way they operate or if it will just be a means for class-action lawyers to pad their pockets and their client's pockets.

If you look at a lot of the third party class-action antitrust suits coming against Microsoft right now, many of them are just after cash. If people sue the Baby Bell's for cash the only thing we will get are worse service and bankrupt phone companies...Can you imagine the service getting any worse?

This should be quite interesting! (0, Redundant)

whoisjoe (465549) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745230)

I can't imagine there will be any suits brought by individuals. If there are any suits, they will be either class-action suits or suits by their larger clients (AT&T?).

I've got a strong case right here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745256)

I'm gonna sue them for $40,000,000,000 for making me stupid.
And ugly.

My attorney says that we have a very good chance of him paying for a new BMW on this.

Re:This should be quite interesting! (1)

uncoveror (570620) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745670)

I would love it if there was an alternative to Broadwing(formerly Cincinnati Bell) in Cincinnati. Their prices are way too high. Monopolies stink. I would also like an alternative to Insight Cable. They really stink too, so I just use an antenna, and watch broadcast TV, but that's another story.

I'll sue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745237)

as soon as I finish moving MS's 40 billion over so I can hire most of the lawyers in the US, I'll be set.

Ummh yah (5, Insightful)

red5 (51324) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745238)

The question now is, will anyone try to.

Uh yah,

What, you think the judge was bored one day and decided to open this up?
This decision is the fruit of legal action brought forth by the very people who will be suing.

Re:Ummh yah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745492)

nobody ever accused a slashdot "editor" of being intelligent.

Re:Ummh yah QWZX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745505)

Oh look! It's a Michael article... how did I know that without even looking?

Unfortunately, Michael is not the brightest pixel on the display.

Re:Ummh yah QWZX (1, Troll)

red5 (51324) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745633)

It's not Michael look again. See how the dumb coomment is inside the quotes, so it's "jobugeek".

Re:Ummh yah QWZX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3746198)

True. Well, I'll Michael off the hook this time, but it does look like something he would say. :)

Re:Ummh yah (1)

cskaryd (448412) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745583)

Yeah, and the first person to try it will be squashed like a bug by the virtually unending financial supply these companies can through at a legal problem. Whereas the little guy with a cap to his resources will have to eventually give up and declare bankruptcy after throwing his life's saving at a hopeless venture.

Re:Ummh yah (1)

OxOx (578619) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745966)

Damn straight. In the late 90s, I was a telecom attorney and represented one of the long distance carriers trying to provide local service under the 1996 Telecommunications Act competing against the old Bell Atlantic. At the time, these were deep pockets (pretty shallow these days, huh Bernie?), but Bell Atlantic fought absolutely everything to the death. In the end, it just wasn't worth it, and prospects for local competition died a painful death. I can't imagine a class action for consumers handled on contingency as a successful endeavor. An antitrust case by state AGs maybe, but not by consumers.

Re:Ummh yah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3746127)

through == throw, i assume?

HOO!! (-1)

cmdr_shithead (527909) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745239)

When the union's inspiration through the workers' blood shall run, [iww.org]
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun;
Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one,
But the union makes us strong.

CHORUS:
Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
For the union makes us strong.

Is there aught we hold in common with the greedy parasite,
Who would lash us into serfdom and would crush us with his might?
Is there anything left to us but to organize and fight?
For the union makes us strong.

It is we who plowed the praries; built the cities where they trade;
Dug the mines and built the workshops, endless miles of railroad laid;
Now we stand outcast and starving midst the wonders we have made;
But the union makes us strong.

All the world that's owned by idle drones is ours and ours alone.
We have laid the wide foundations; built it skyward stone by stone.
It is ours, not to slave in, but to master and to own.
While the union makes us strong.

They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn,
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn.
We can break their haughty power, gain our freedom when we learn
That the union makes us strong.

In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold,
Greater than the might of armies, magnified a thousand-fold.
We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old
For the union makes us strong.

The Case Against Verizon (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745246)

Have you noticed that through out recent years a darker force has risen from the clouds of the baby bells and engulfed the powers that feed your phone lines? Verizon which was nothing a few years ago, controlls almost all phone lines now, not only that, they have given full control to the bigger-powers-that-be to record and monitor all your phone conversations (btw they get paid for this -- so you do live in a free country and you are paying them to record you talking with friends and family -- and it's for your own safty).

Verizon is evil and vile, it would bring a stangation to American land lines .. the like of which we've not seen since the days of ATT monopoly (Then again that might be a good thing (tm). But the issue here I point out is the fact tht Verizon also controls DSL lines. They are the *ONLY* reason why DSL is not deployed in mass here in the US. They are the only ones milking every single mom&pop DSL provider by imposing unwanted tarrifs on the use of their lines.

Verizon is also after your money. They have been raising phone rates constatly for the past 2 years at the rate of 0.2 cents per month. Please collect all your bills and do the math. This means eventually they'd be charing you a lot more than what you were playing with non-verizon.

Verizon needs to be dismantled. This would be good for you, for the DSL ppl, for the Internet providers and phone sex in general. Please lobby against this vile corporation. They are akin to Microsoft and Clearchannel (story for another day).

Lord Ranamaari

Re:The Case Against Verizon (3, Insightful)

Kamel Jockey (409856) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745474)

At least for some people in Verizon's territory, there can be alternatives. If I wanted to, I could disconnect my landline phone, use Comcast for Internet access and get a cell phone from Cingular with good reception in my area. Hopefully as cable modems become more widespread, it may become more possible for (at least) residential customers who use dialup to dump Verizon for landline phones and use some kind of cellular alternative.

As I've said before, the only way Verizon is gonna improve service (and aside from their lack of DSL support, its pretty good), is if people start patronizing companies which can provide equivalent products and services.

No, I doubt anyone will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745248)

Any other questions I can help you out with?

Great! (2, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745251)

Does this mean that when they finally split Microsoft up, we can then sue the component parts for antitrust violations, too? And then sue the bits of them? Whoopee!

Anyone fancy a game of Microsoft Pang [crazybone.com] ?

I would still like to see telephone companies (3, Informative)

gwayne (306174) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745254)

held liable for lying to customers about how much their services really cost. Phone companies disgust me, and every single one I have dealt with over the past 8 years as lied through their teeth. Ever wonder why basic phone service costs you $40/month when they advertise $15? Or when they promise you 10 cents/min for a low $5 monthly fee, but when you get the bill you see that 10 cents only applies to interstate calls. So not only did you get screwed out of $5, you also get charged 25 cents a minute to call your mother...

Re:I would still like to see telephone companies (5, Interesting)

PD (9577) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745330)

How about their little shell game with caller ID and related tech?

First, it's we'll sell you caller ID. Then they sell the spammers an anonymous account. Then, they sell you a feature to block anonymous callers. Then they sell the spammers a feature to get through to people that block anonymous callers.

It's a frickin racket. This is what the MOB does.
Pay us some money and we'll protect you from spammers. Oh, the protection isn't working? Pay us some more money.

what?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745463)

What are you talking about? Per-use and Per-line blocking are free services (I believe they have to be legally, but don't quote me on it). Blocking incoming calls w/o callerID info (block the blocker) is free too (at least in my experience, maybe not everywhere), but if it's not free for you, it can be done on the subscriber's end.

Do a little research before you open your yap.

Re:I would still like to see telephone companies (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745516)

How about their little shell game with caller ID and related tech?

Not to mention providing you with caller ID data costs them NOTHING!, yet they still somehow figure out how to charge for it (their only possible costs are probably processing the bills for the service).

You need the TeleZapper! (2)

cpeterso (19082) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745604)

You need the TeleZapper [telezapper.com] !! Does anyone here own a TeleZapper? Does this thing actually work? I can imagine the telemarketing companies devising a counter-attack soon..

The TeleZapper uses the technology of telemarketers' automatic dialing equipment against them. When you or your answering machine picks up a call, the TeleZapper emits a special tone that "fools" the computer into thinking your number is disconnected. Instead of connecting you to a salesperson, the computer stores your number as diconnected in it's database. Over time, as your number is removed from more and more databases, you'll see a dramatic decrease in the number of annoying telemarketing calls you receive.


Re:You need the TeleZapper! (2)

warpSpeed (67927) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745785)

Yeah, they work great, until your kids school makes an automated call about his/her attendance or about an early closing. You get booted off of thier call list too.

The Unit cannot distinguish between legeitamate calls and phone spammers....

Re:You need the TeleZapper! (2)

cpeterso (19082) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745896)


I don't like computers calling me. A few years ago, I kept getting fax-like computer calls at 4:00 AM. After a few weeks of my complaining, the phone company finally tracked down the problem. Apparently, a computer at the Washington DC Center for Aging had confused my phone number with one of its servers. Eventually the problem was fixed.

Re:I would still like to see telephone companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745782)

I call it a good business model. If I could sell ammo to both sides in a war, I would.

Not entirely their fault (3, Interesting)

swb (14022) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745485)

OK, I realize I'm (kind of) defending the phone company, but often what's broken isn't the phone company rates but the tarrif structure and process regulators setup.

The first time I asked for a copy of my office's phone account info from the phone company -- several POTS lines, a couple of ISDN BRIs, an ISDN PRI and five DSS trunks -- I expected a page or two detailing the billing for the lines and maybe a page or two for some extras (DID blocks, etc). Naive me, I got what amounted to over *50* pages of billing information, often for each trunk member there were multiple entries for small charges of around $.50 each. I discovered why our phone system maintenance vendor employs a full-time ex-Qwest employee to decipher these things.

Anyway, the telcos deserve a rap on the knuckles for advertising just their tarrif rates, when they know that's not what people are going to be writing checks for. But the regulators and regulatory processes *also* deserve a (bigger) rap on the knuckles for making telephone billing so overly complicated; many of the charges on a phone bill are multi-layer (fed, state, local) taxes and fees.

It also doesn't help that what most non-rural customers pay for phone services isn't what it costs to deliver those services; cross-subsidies between service types further complicate simple pricing. Again thank the regulators.

It'd be nice if one day you could order telecomms services that had a price that you actually paid and could understand instead of a sea of regulutory nonsense.

Re:I would still like to see telephone companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745507)

I've never seen a phone company lie about their rates. I have seen bills with a 30-100% federal/state/fcc tax rate on them, though.

Taxation is the real monopoly here!

Small Potatoes, You'll love this one... (2)

JohnDenver (246743) | more than 12 years ago | (#3746273)

Rolling your own DSL over a dry copper line for $45 a month

The awakening of the Internet happened for many reasons, but one of the more significant reasons was because it provided tens of thousands of entrepenuers the opportunity to start thier own ISP. Small ISP's began to crop up everywhere, especially where larger providers wouldn't provide service.

Doesn't DSL have to connect to the main switch to work?

Or does it??? Roll your own DSL [pbs.org]

I read this article one year ago and I was shocked. Cringely had explained that DSL doesn't need to go through the Baby Bells to work. As a matter of fact, the types of lines to make this possible have been available for years. They're called dry-copper lines and they're used by alarm companies monitor security systems, but they could also be used for DSL.

The difference between dry copper lines and regular phone lines is that dry copper lines never connect to the switch, but that doesn't matter for DSL. It's like P2P phone service, but with one line going from you home directly to your neighbors.

If only the Baby Bells would sell dry copper lines

By law the Baby Bells are required to specific services at specific prices, primarily because they are entrusted with the public's communicatiosn infrastructure. The truth is: Most baby bells will sell you a dry copper line for about $15-$45 a month. They may lie to you and say it doesn't exists, but even if you get it, it doesn't mean it will work. All they are required to do is sell you a dry copper line that completes a circuit. There's nothing preventing them from selling you a noisy dry copper line, which is especially bad for DSL.

What would have happened if the Baby Bells were required to sell clear dry copper lines?

My guess is as good as yours, but I know if I was an ISP. I would have been out there hawking cheap DSL in areas the Baby Bells were ignoring. I wonder how many people would have been doing the same thing? Would broadband have been a little more ubiquitous by now?

Triple Damages (1, Interesting)

denttford (579202) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745262)

I suspect individual consumers are going to have trouble proving this on their own. Hence, class action suits, therfore lawyers recieve the principal benefit from this ruling. Consumers, should Bell not manage to have this struck down, might see a change in future practices, but who are we kidding?

Well, maybe I'll get a check for $9 or something in the future... though more likely, free caller ID or something else not of the green paper variety.

Re:Triple Damages (3, Informative)

alexmogil (442209) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745300)

Is this one of those cases where we get a form letter that says we are part of the multi-party class action lawsuit... JUST SIGN HERE!

I've been involved in only one of those, and I got a nice, shiny five dollar check for my efforts. The class action suit I was involved in invloved a company hiking finance charges. I was overcharged financing on an item to the tune of $150. $5 is less than $150.

So, are these lawsuits meant as compensation to the consumer, a conduit for a lawyer's SUV fund, or as punishment to the defendant?

Re:Triple Damages (4, Insightful)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745490)

So, are these lawsuits meant as compensation to the consumer, a conduit for a lawyer's SUV fund, or as punishment to the defendant?

Yes...

In reality, it's supposed to be the first and last. However, even lawyers deserve to be paid something. So all you're doing is arguing over the fee.

On one hand, $5 IS significantly smaller than $150. On the other hand, without the lawyer and his quick thinking you would have had $0 and the company would have seen NO consequences. All-in-all, I'd say you got a pretty good payday for filling out a form and mailing it in.

Re:Triple Damages (1)

Jeremiah Blatz (173527) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745652)

Also not that if you got triple damages, and legal fees were the same, you'd get 150*3-145 = $305 in said case. Of course, you'd probably get more like $150*3 - $145*3 = $15, but hey, you're still just sending in a form.

Re:Triple Damages (1)

OxOx (578619) | more than 12 years ago | (#3746042)

These cases are always handled on a contingency fee basis, so the lawyer gets a percentage of the award, so the second example is right. In consumer class actions, that's often why you see settlements for coupons. The settlement provides the lawyer cash, but all the plaintiffs get are coupons that the defendant knows will probably never be redeemed.

Re:Triple Damages (1)

Jeremiah Blatz (173527) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745506)

Meant? The first one and the last one. In practice? The last two. You sue for damages, the layer(s) take most of the willings, the sued company finds themselves out lots of cash. You get a $5 check.

If you can *prove* that the defendant in a civil case acted with malice (i.e. was intentionally illegally screwing you over), you can sue for damages *and* fees, in which case it would be all three. Proving that a corporation was trying to act illegally is neigh impossible, though.

Re:Triple Damages (2, Interesting)

splink splink (203531) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745632)

I'm often reminded that behind every sleezebag lawyer there is a sleezebag client. While that's true in many court cases, it is not the case with class action suits. From what I've read you're given the choice of participating or waiving your rights to sue. It doesn's seem like much of a choice to me.

I'm convinced they're a conduit for passing money to lawyers while eliminating the public's ability to recover actual damages. Here are some examples:

I was involved in a suit against B of A in California. They were overcharging on something for home loans. While I have no idea how much the total settlement was for, I still have my check for $0.23. (yes, 23 cents)

I just got my check for NFL Sunday ticket's suit resolution. It seems two bar owners sued because they coulen't get single games - just the season package. I think the settlement was just under $3.5 million. The lawyers got a third, the two bar owners got $1,000 each (this is not a typo), and I received $32 and change although I have yet to realize that I was injured.

In some cases you don't get anything. I think Sears settled with a service lawsuit (again in CA) years ago where the lawyers got serious cash and everyone else got discount coupons on future Sears work. Let's see, they screwed me that last time they worked on my car. I'll feel better when they screw me this time at a discount!

There are numerous examples of class action suits putting good companies with good products out of business (think Silicon breast implants). No proof that there's any abnormal danger but the lawsuits have killed and industry and prevented good products from coming to market.

While there is limited good from these types of lawsuits (asbestos comes to mind) one questions if there isn't a better way. Most of these lawsuits border on the frivolous and the injured parties, if they are in fact even injured as in my two examples, get next to nothing. But with lawyers as the prime beneficiaries and lawyers as the primary law makers, I don't see this changing during my life time.

Re:Triple Damages (1)

OxOx (578619) | more than 12 years ago | (#3746135)

The asbestos lawsuits have caused me personal harm. Peter Angelos [monkeycube.com] made millions from the asbestos cases, which enabled him to buy the Baltimore Orioles [mlb.com] . Because he thinks it might cause him to lose a couple of bucks, he is the sole reason the Expos [mlb.com] haven't been allowed to move to my hometown [go.com] .

CONSUMERS not CORP! (1)

Vengie (533896) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745267)

This only affects CONSUMERS -- not corporations. Unless we're dealing with a class action lawsuit, this wont come to all that much.
Furthermore, if it comes to it, watch how fast most Baby Bells will spin off divisions to shield the profits.

Tried to call... (4, Funny)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745271)

I tried to call some lawyers involved in a class-action anti-trust law suit against the phone company, but their phone was disconnected....

Seems it was all just smoke and mirrors....

But why? (2)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745290)

What would you gain from it?

I mean, seriously. MS has been on trial for so long now I barely remember when it started. IBM has been tried at least once, and I doubt that the Baby Bells will do any worse than those two.

Let's save our legal money for things like national ID cards, and people who wear hushpuppies.

(Well, I was just kidding about the hushpuppies)

(I think. . .)

-WS

Re:But why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745305)

Assumedly because your only alternative is to accept the anticompetitive behavior of the Baby Bells, and subsequently go out of business?

(Note: if this is not the case for you, you probably shouldn't be filing an antitrust suit anyway.)

You missed the best example (2)

IPFreely (47576) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745406)

Bell Telephone was also charged with anti-trust action, and they lost. This is where the baby bells came from. Bell was broken up.

So the Baby Bells should know about and fear anti-trust consequinces better than most other companies. It is where they were born.

Re:You missed the best example (2)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745433)

Yes, but that was some time ago, in a very clearly-defined case. I think things are a bit more hazy now, and I suspect this will be a very long-running suit if it goes forward.

Also, let's not under-estimate the public attention span. If a case like this gets on the "RADAR" then it may become something. Otherwise, it will probably just fade away and provide a bunch of lawyers with pensions.

-WS

old geeks of the future.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745509)

old geeks of the future will tell stories...

"Yep! I remember those days! see once uppon a time there was a company named microsoft, and they got in a court case"
"is that what bankrupted the US government grandpaw?"
"yes, yes it is. now do you understand why we say the pledge of alliegance to the united states of Gates?"

Re:You missed the best example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745519)

Bell Telephone was also charged with anti-trust action, and they lost.


No, they "volountarily" agreed to a breakup before they were found to be a monopoly.

Just like Richard Nixon "voluntarily" resigned before he was impeached

They tried to force my company out of business. (1)

SHEENmaster (581283) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745299)

We here at Flame Entertainment [dnsart.com] are ashamed that Baby Smells would ever do such a thing. After forcing us out of the teddy bear and wireless ultra super mega long range no roaming can you hear me know cordless unphreakable phone business, they threatened to murder our mascot if we didn't give into their demands.

We are making a demand. $20 payable in 2000 installments of $0.01 apiece over a period of 2000 years, or we join the lawsuit.

Happiness is... (-1, Troll)

vidalsasoon (555891) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745303)

Seeing your girlfriend wink at you with her anus.

Money for Homebrew DSL wannabes? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745322)

In my area, SBC will shut you down fast if they find that
you're running your own DSL connection on a dry-copper
pair (they don't like the fact that you're getting 1.5-2+ Mbs
and only paying about $20 per month).

I wonder if this decision (if it stands) will allow us to pursue
legal action against the Baby Bells? If it did, and the Bells
allowed Homebrew DSL, you'd see the fastest rollout of broadband ever!

Anyone up for a class action suit here?

Re:Money for Homebrew DSL wannabes? (2)

Elbereth (58257) | more than 12 years ago | (#3746028)

I'm not familiar with this scenario, but it sounds like they think you are stealing services. Your second paragraph leads me to believe that DSL is, in fact, not (officially?) available to you. This sounds sort of like using a cable decoder when the cable company refuses to admit that your area can get cable. Is this sort of what you're describing?

If so, then I don't think you have much chance of defending your actions, but I'd think the judge would be pretty annoyed with the telephone company.... maybe even force them to roll out broadband.

Lead thousands of target customers by key word fo (-1)

GhostseTroll (582659) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745352)

GREATEST FREE STUFFS [goatse.cx]

More than 120,000,000 addresses all over the world
Top 20 search engine positioning software

Updated fresh email addresses every week

Bulk email addresses retrieving software from web

eBooks + weekly email marketing news letters + much more

A TRUE and ULTIMATE email marketing tools

BULK EMAIL SERVER on your desktop PC
BULK EMAIL HARVESTER from industrial DB

BULK EMAIL RETRIEVER from news groups

BULK EMAIL COLLECTER from DB of cities, states and countries in the world

NEWS LETTER CASTER to news groups of 1,800/hour

It's totally FREE !!!

EMAIL LIST MANAGING SOFTWARE
EMAIL ADDRESSES RETRIEVER from web

It's totally FREE !!!

TAKE FREE STUFFS of $1,367 value from GOLD PACKAGE
TAKE FREE STUFFS of $772 value from BRONZE PACKAGE

We guarantee you of the greatest benefits of bulk email campigning

ONLY with our software and services

Click here

to continue

ccs21@theemailtools.com

http://www.theemailtools.com

This message is sent in compliance of the new e-mail bill: SECTION 301. Per Section 301, paragraph (a)(2)(C) of S. 1618. This message is not Spam as long as you are provided with a way to remove your name from this mailing list. All further transmissions to you from us may be stopped at no cost to you by sending a Reply to this letter with the word "remove" in the Subject line.

Or just click back. We ALWAYS respect REMOVE requests!

Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by V3Pro 2002 system

jESUS was a homosexual monkey!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745353)

jESUS was a homosexual monkey.

Solution: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745358)

Split them up further!

Then we'll have the Bell Grandchildren. We'll have to split them up too.

Only locals? (4, Funny)

The_Shadows (255371) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745359)

Damn! I'm fine with my local, but I really want to sue Verizon.

Not for their service or anything like that. I just hate the "Can you hear me now? Good," guy.

Re:Only locals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745440)

Verizon IS the local carrier for some of the regions here (SE Michigan). Not for me (SBC Ameritech), but If I don;t get DSL soon, I WILL sue them.

It looks like the Michigan legislature is going to do some "forcing" of the local telco's to get bandwidth to all places in Michigan... I'll beleive it when I don;t have 56k.

Re:Only locals? (1)

zaffir (546764) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745545)

I live in SE michigan as well, and Ameritech refuses to acknowledge that my address even exists. Their phone service still bills me, but the DSL people say i don't exist. Thank god for Charter's "pipeline" service, without them i wouldn't be subject to underhanded service changes that "accidentally" cap my download at 256kbit/sec, instead of "upgrading" me from 512kbit/sec minimum (uncapped, essentially) to 712k/sec capped. ALl without telling me. Where would i be without them?

Re:Only locals? (1)

splume (560873) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745480)

Yeah,
He needs a good 'ol cockpunching Jarad (subway) style.

What? (1)

tacokill (531275) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745487)

All I can think of when I see that commercial is "Yep, that's EXACTLY what I find myself saying in every mobile call I make".

Seriously. When I first saw that commercial, I thought they were making fun of themselves and their crappy service. Then I realized they were serious.

I still don't get it.

Considering..... (3, Informative)

friedmud (512466) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745365)

That it took 3 weeks for SBC to install a simple "run-of-the-mill" phoneline in my apartment (hell - it was already installed - all they had to do was turn it on!) - I could see suing them.

We went 3 weeks without any way to contact emergency services whatsoever! That is piss poor.

And the only reason they can get away with it is that they have a monopoly in our area - so what the fuck are we supposed to do about it?

$0.02

Derek

if you like that... (1)

tid242 (540756) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745442)

That it took 3 weeks for SBC to install a simple "run-of-the-mill" phoneline in my apartment (hell - it was already installed - all they had to do was turn it on!) - I could see suing them.

and guess how many *minutes* it'll take them to disconnect your line?-i think it took qwest about 15 minutes when we disconnected & both got mobile phones: *call qwest* "i'd like to have my phone disconnected." "when would you like it disconnected?" "ASAP you commie bastards." "we'll have it disconnected by 5:00p" *look at watch 4:46* "uh... ok then."

we also waited over 2 weeks to get "hooked up"
we also waited 3 years for DSL (and moved 3 times) before getting a cablemodem...

-tid242

Re:Considering..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745445)

Hell...I've seen SBC/Americrap take 9, yes boys, 9 months to install T1 or T3 lines....and this was to desinations that are ON the fiber ring...nothing complicated like distance issues....

How about 6 weeks for an ISDN line in which the wire was already run in a previous contract and just needed to be connected at the CO...

How about 4, yes 4 freaking weeks to get Americrap to fix a broken phone line...come home one day, no signal... "Sir, the estimated time to resolve this ticket is 4 weeks.."......grr....

The Race is On (3, Funny)

Lysander Luddite (64349) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745425)

Which will cause Qwest to declare bancruptcy first:

poor management or lawsuits?

My money is on management. Lawsuits take forever to have an impact.

Will Anyone Sue? (1)

bgs006 (182777) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745447)

I can't imagine anyone would. We live in a country free of frivolous lawsuits, don't we?

In other news, I am a complete retard.

Brandon
LostBrain [lostbrain.com]

Qwest Qwest Qwest Qwest (1)

WillSeattle (239206) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745468)

Time to sue Qwest
Which was US West
It's not the best
And already messed

We need a breakup
We need a real firm
Not just a joke that
Is looted by it's execs

Qwest Qwest Qwest Qwest
[voices fade over hill]
Qwest Qwest Qwest Qwest
[voices fade beneath ground, as the Open Source Gnomes go back to work]

-

Does anyone remember when we had competition? (1)

WillSeattle (239206) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745497)

I do. And then these hot shots gave all the politicians money and promised that deregulation would ... get this ... increase competition, increase service, and lower prices.

According to my count we have:
less competition
less service
and higher prices.

Wish al-Qaeda would attack a convention of the politicians and lobbyists who sold us down the river on that one ...

They have nothing to fear (4, Insightful)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745499)

The Baby Bells have nothing to fear. As Microsoft has demonstrated, even the mightiest case (such as the Clinton DOJ had) can be reduced to nothing by delaying tactics and tons of cash.

And the current DOJ has a philosophical bent against antitrust laws. The top boys don't believe in those laws. And as the past year demonstrated, even with a case already won, they will let it peter out without comment. Oh, who are we kidding, it was Bush's decision.

There is no chance that the current DOJ will prosecute antitrust cases. They have other priorities, such as medical-marijuana laws and tapping the Internet. This is not a troll, simply the truth. The Bush admin will not fight monopolies because it doesn't believe they should be regulated.

And as for the courts, eventually the politically canny people in the White House will break the logjam on the hyperconservative, Chicago School federal judge appointments, and even if a future administration cares to pursue an antitrust case, it will face a solid wall of Reagan/Bush/Bush II appointees who will shoot them down with glee.

As for greedy lawyers in private cases, I just don't get it. If the Feds can't or won't, and no private individual could possibly hope to confront billions of dollars worth of legal opposition, what other possibility for redress of monopolistic practices would be left if the private lawyers weren't trying to profit from class action suits? If you hate lawyers more than the utterly powerful corporations (who are nothing more than lawyers themselves, don't forget!), then who the hell can stop the juggernaut? Let the lawyers make their millions if our executive, legislative, and judicial branches are philosophically incapable of doing their jobs to protect the citizens of the U.S. from out-of-control corporate lords.

Re:They have nothing to fear (1, Troll)

danheskett (178529) | more than 12 years ago | (#3746016)

What a load of utter and complete crap.

Seriously, point by point:

As Microsoft has demonstrated, even the mightiest case (such as the Clinton DOJ had) can be reduced to nothing by delaying tactics and tons of cash.
Okay, let's assume that the case on its facts was mighty. Lets assume that - even though I dont find it to be particulary true in this case. An appeals court essentially laughed, and I mean laughed, at the idea of a Microsoft breakup. They essentially said that the breakup order was completely out of line with the facts. That's a very important item to understand. After a breakup is ruled out, what exactly are the possibilities for punishment for MS. They are (a) a fine, or (b) conduct remedies. Those are the choices the DOJ had to work with. Breakup was out. So, what do you do? Push for a fine? Hmm.. doesn't seem to be an effictive idea against a very weathly corporation. No possible fine would immpact them enough to make a dent. Also, it would serve to raise prices for all businesses who depend on MS. Not very good for consumers. Alternatively, they could push for conduct remedies. We all know MS won't follow them to the spirit. We know that. It simply won't happen.

So at this point is seems clear what the solution is. Work with MS to get to an agreement they might probably follow for a while. Use the future violations against them for try #2 at a breakup. And this is where the case is today.

even with a case already won
This is a common misconception. All they had was a conviction, and that by a apparently biased judge. The appeals court vacated the teeth of that argument. Now there is a new judge. The DOJ won only in so far as they got a conviction on the technical issues of law and fact; they DID NOT win on the sentencing end. The DOJ LOST BIGTIME in that area. BIGTIME. REALLY REALLY BIGTIME. Thats a very important point. Though they might seem to have won from a causual glance, the appeals court ruling was so strongly worded against the remote possibility of a breakup order being enforced that they then began negotiating from a position of weakness, not strength.

Oh, who are we kidding, it was Bush's decision.
Clearly, it was. He campaigned on this issue. He was asked point blank if he would seek a settlement with Microsoft, and his answer was "Yes, I will". Gore caimpaigned, actually at the Microsoft campuse (that takes a pair!) that they should be broken up for the good of the country. Opps. It is no secret that the Republican party is interested in supporting businesses large and small.

There is no chance that the current DOJ will prosecute antitrust cases.
Untrue, and inflammatory. The DOJ currently has numerous investigations that have been continued or started since Bush was elected. In fact, there is going to be an anti-trust trial against the members of the RIAA in my home town starting in a few months. A cursory search on the DOJs website shows a whole big pile of antitrust activities [usdoj.gov] since Bush took office.

The Bush admin will not fight monopolies because it doesn't believe they should be regulated.
Simply and utterly untrue. Not true. Again, see the previous link. They are heavily involved in regulation of monopolies.

And as for the courts, eventually the politically canny people in the White House will break the logjam on the hyperconservative, Chicago School federal judge appointments, and even if a future administration cares to pursue an antitrust case, it will face a solid wall of Reagan/Bush/Bush II appointees who will shoot them down with glee.

This is again spreading of lies and FUD. Pop Quiz - who appointed Judge Jackson? Ronald Reagan. Pop Quiz, who appointed Judge Greene (AT&T Trial Judge, Large Anti-Trust Case In History) - Richard Nixon. Who appoint Judge Judge Kollar-Kotelly to the Federal Bench? Ronald Regan. Who prompted her twice to higher courts? George W. Bush. Seeing a pattern here yet? I tell you what, find me some sample cases that Reagan/Bush/Nixon/Bush II judges have shot down. I couldn't find ANY. None. Who was presiding over the country during the period of the largest and most wide-ranging corporate mergers in history? It wasn't any president I've listed so far - think long and hard. I'll give you a hint. Begins with a "C", ends with a "N".

greedy lawyers in private cases, I just don't get it. If the Feds can't or won't, and no private individual could possibly hope to confront billions of dollars worth of legal opposition, what other possibility for redress of monopolistic practices would be left if the private lawyers weren't trying to profit from class action suits?
Profit is the single greatest motivation known to man. It can do almost anything, and achieve almost any end. It can be used for good or for evil. If its used for good you should applaud, not whine.

Let the lawyers make their millions if our executive, legislative, and judicial branches are philosophically incapable of doing their jobs to protect the citizens of the U.S. from out-of-control corporate lords.
Ironic, then, considering this is a ruling, by the judical branch, which will open a flood of lawsuits against the "corporate juggernaut". If this doesn't count as "doing their jobs", then probably nothing will in your book.


You can spout off all the rosy rhetoric you want, all the anti-corporate crap, and the anti-Bush crap you want. I am certainly not going to argue for Bush, larger corporations, or anything of that nature. However, your claims do not stand up to rudimentary factual analyis. Four facts:

1. The DOJ was in a bad position before the Bush administration got its hands on this case.
2. Bush had already promised as a campaign issue to end the trial as soon possible and with favor to MS. 49% of the votes still went his way despite this clear prouncement (lesson: vote, it matters)
3. This one situation is not indicitive of the overall comittment to Antitrust matters by either the DOJ or the Bush Administration.
4. The judicial appointments of the Republican party over the last 80 years are very commendable. It shows a fundamental respect for the law and for the tennents of restrained judicial action within the bounds of the law.


Please spout your lies and mistruths elsewhere, thank you.

Of course (1)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745513)

I will.
What else am i going to do at work?

Of course they'll sue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745514)

People have been wanting to do this.

This company [cavtel.com] has tried once [cavtel.com] and failed [cavtel.com] , but I'm sure they won't stop now.

Err (1)

WolfDeusEx (310788) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745517)

Isn't that a type of chesse?

More Interesting Still... (3, Interesting)

BlackGriffen (521856) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745522)

Will this apply outside of the telecom industry? Some of my favorite oranizations, RIAA, MPAA, and M$ could probably all be open to lawsuits if this ruling is as broad as I hope it is.

BlackGriffen

Re:More Interesting Still... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3745616)

twit.

Do any of the above organizations have anything to do with Telecommunications companies? No.

Go earn some basic legal theory.

What was the first thing I said? (1)

BlackGriffen (521856) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745993)

"Will this apply outside the telecom industry?"

I was just wondering if this ruling would apply in the general sense of antitrust violations. Obviously, IANAL, but I do have an imagination and can think of possible ramifications.

But then you seem to be the arrogant jag off type who can't see an honest question for what it is.

BlackGriffen

Verizon is a ripoff (1)

jchristopher (198929) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745528)

Currently I pay $25 a month to Verizon (Los Angeles), just so I can have a landline that I use only for dialup internet access. (I use cellular for voice). The local cable company provides neither internet access nor voice. $25 for a phone line is a rip, and I have no other alternative.

I could get DSL, but Verizon REQUIRES you to have voice in order to have DSL. This is outrageous, I have no need for a voice line, but they won't sell you DSL without one. So your bill becomes $25 (voice) + $50 (DSL).

I hate lawyers as much as the next guy, but if lawsuits help, then so be it. Especially for lower income people, there is no reason the phone company should get 5% of their monthly income, especially when they don't have to compete.

Re:Verizon is a ripoff (1)

AdTropis (6690) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745717)

the thing that is disgusting is that there are a lot of fees that you can't take off of your bill even though it is only used for dial-up. i know there are monthly charges for interstate long-distance and such, but i would never use that line for long distance. in fact, i don't even want that phone line to even have the ability to make long distance calls... but i pay the fee anyways...

Someone with Bellsouth, please answer this - (2)

Cutriss (262920) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745618)

Can Bellsouth leave my DSL on if I cancel my land-line service? I'm paying $32 per month on a line I use maybe twice a month. I'd just as well disconnect it and get a cellphone, but I don't want to lose DSL.

I know there's legislation preventing cable companies from tying service. How does this apply to telcos? Anyone with Bellsouth have any experience here?

YAHOOOOOOOO!!!! (1)

immortal (145467) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745623)

Now lets home someone will stick it to them!

DSL ISPs? (2, Interesting)

mssymrvn (15684) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745683)

This actually might be a good thing in terms of being able to get an alternate ISP over DSL. As it stands now, the thick-headed a-holes at the FCC think broadband competition is cable vs. DSL. But if I get DSL, I'm most likely stuck with Verizon.net. Though right now I've got Covad/Speakeasy (and they rock), the recent ruling with the FCC means that they can be shut off by Verizon quite quickly if Verizon wants to play that game (and I'm pretty sure they do). So then I'm stuck with crappy ATTBI cable with no alternate ISP or Verizon DSL. Hell, I'd even be willing to pay Verizon some small loop charge (say $30/month) if I could pick my own ISP (with an additional charge). As long as I don't have Verizon's crappy ISP service (which no doubt matches their phone service).

So I guess what I'm saying is that yes, individuals may very well take this action as a good thing and start suing the RBOCs for opening up their DSL to other ISPs (even if we have to use the RBOCs for just the local loop). This also might be a good thing for those looking to get into opening up cable lines to alternate ISPs.

It's just a thought (but right now I'm suffering from sleep deprivation, so it might be a dream).

oh, just go ahead (2)

WildBeast (189336) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745801)

Viva the government, he'll sue anyone, except the RIAA

Covad (2)

peterdaly (123554) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745807)

Maybe this will help my Covad stock. I'd love to see Cavad haul them into court.

-Pete

Helpful information for dealing with phone company (5, Informative)

Squeezer (132342) | more than 12 years ago | (#3745978)

If you have problem with your phone carrier (such as a baby bell) giving you poor service, taking a month to install a phone line, etc...There are laws you prolly don't know about that are set by your state's government about how soon the phone company must give you service after you make the request for the service (such as adding a new phone line).

When you have problems with the phone company, look up in your phone book under the state government listings for the Public Service Commission or the Public Utilities Commission. Call them and then ask for the phone number to their complaints line. Then call the complaints line. You will speak to someone that has and will contact people higher up in the phone company's service and management departments that will get your service requests done PROMPTLY. If you make a request for service and the phone company doesn't provide it within a reasonable amount of time, the PSC or PUC WILL fine the phone company for violating state laws by not providing you service within a reasonable amount of time according to the laws in your state.

For example, my mom bought a new house. She called the phone company routinely for a month straight. Bellsouth kept saying there were no more available lines in her area and they would have to engineer a solution and get back with her. After putting up with this for a month she finally called the PSC and told them what was going on. The next day she had a working phone line.

Re:Helpful information for dealing with phone comp (2)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 12 years ago | (#3746052)

Judging from the feedback on this article, if only you could do that regarding their pricing schemes .. ;)

Who ya gonna call?? (1)

SillySlashdotName (466702) | more than 12 years ago | (#3746002)

Who do I call to sue a Baby Bell? I keep getting that "All circuits are busy, please try your call again later" when I try to call a lawyer!

Regulated monopoly? (3, Interesting)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 12 years ago | (#3746071)

Arent the "baby Bells" still considered regulated monopolies? How can they be sued for being in the condition that the federal government left them?

Re:Regulated monopoly? (2)

isdnip (49656) | more than 12 years ago | (#3746152)

No; since the Telecom Act of 1996, they are not granted legal monopolies. But they still have antitrust-law monopoly power, because competition isn't in place yet. And the Telecom Act specifically says that they're supposed to cooperate with competitors in certain ways, in order to undo the old monopoly.

The lawsuits against the RBOCs are about misbehavior since 1996, under the new rules.

Re:Regulated monopoly? (1)

OxOx (578619) | more than 12 years ago | (#3746266)

Exactly. However, like I said in a previous comment, IAAL, and in my experience the only way the RBOCs cooperated with the CLECs was to line the pockets of the CLECs' lawyers. Not that I'm complaining, personally (although I don't do that anymore - the Telecom Act just got to be too damn frustrating).
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>