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Ma Bell is Back 511

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the guess-who's-back-back-again dept.
brass1 writes Ma Bell is back. It seems that for the purposes of branding, SBC is changing its name to AT&T once the acquisition is complete. Meanwhile, a great force and a high pitched whining sound has been reported from Judge Greene's grave as he spins at nearly 10K RPM."
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Ma Bell is Back

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  • Could you please explain what's "Ma Bell" for us foreigners? Thanks.
    • by kflash15 (252578) <{kellen.murphy} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:18PM (#13890697) Homepage
      "Ma Bell" is a nickname for AT&T... like "Mother Bell" because it split into severl smaller "Baby Bells"...
    • by Krach42 (227798) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:20PM (#13890709) Homepage Journal
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AT&T [wikipedia.org]

      I was gonna explain, but then I realized, Wikipedia no doubt has an article.
    • by DangerSteel (749051) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:21PM (#13890715)
      It was basically the phone company for the United States "back in the day". I think I remember thier motto to be:

      "We don't care, we don't have to !"

      • by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:45PM (#13890985) Journal

        It was basically the phone company for the United States "back in the day". I think I remember thier motto to be:

        Go ahead and mock the Bell System. They did step over the line quite a few times. But I don't really think the hodgepodge of companies that have come since have given a rat ass about the customer either. In fact, thanks to telecommunications deregulation, carriers no longer need to worry about pesky little details like quality of service, uptime or redundancy.

        How pathetic was it that virtually every single cell tower went down during the Northeast Blackout, yet Verizon and the other POTS providers kept humming along as though nothing had happened. Apparently the cellular providers can't be bothered with fancy new technology like batteries, generators and UPSes. In fact the last time we had a disaster around these parts the local phone carriers (Verizon and Frontier) went around and installed generators into all the central offices to keep things humming until electrical power was restored. There was zero downtime of POTS services. I'll wadger that in that same scenario your cell company would either deny that there was a problem or tell you that they were "working on it" and act annoyed at having to talk to you.

        In fact, barring Acts of God that destroyed infrastructure (Hurricanes or Drunk Drivers) I can't ever call picking up a landline phone and not hearing a sweet dial tone. The only gripe I've ever had with my local carrier has been the left hand (customer service) not knowing what the right hand (repair) is doing. I've never had a complaint with the reliability. And unlike all the solutions that have come since I still have a Governmental agency (the PSC) looking out for me.

        DoD was against the breakup of Ma Bell for a reason.

        • I'll wadger that in that same scenario your cell company

          Wadgers? Wadgers? We don't need to steenkin Wadgers!!!
        • Go ahead and mock the Bell System. They did step over the line quite a few times.

          I think that the conspiracy between J.P. Morgan and Theodore Vail was more than a bit over the line. Note that Ma Bell didn't become a monopoly without a lot of "help" from the good friend of Vail's. Basically Morgan would withhold credit, the competitor would go belly up, and AT&T would buy it for pennies on the dollar. This is how they went from about 60% market share in 1900 to a near total monopoly 50 years later. Tragically Congress intervened on AT&T's behalf, effectively exempting telephony from the Sherman Act.

          It was only though the hard work of the folks at the FCC and NASA that we have any competition in the telphone market today. (FCC because of their tireless work to ensure that customers could purchase their own telephone equipment, and NASA for jumpstarting Comsat Corp. The FCC also made it a policy of subjecting AT&T to much more regulatory scrutiny than their competitors, such as Microwave Communication Inc, later named MCI.)

          The early AT&T made Microsoft look like a good corporate citizen. And they only got away with what they did because first Congress rolled over and exempted them from an important antitrust act, and secondly, that two major wars (WWII, Korea) disrupted investigation and enforcement on remaining grounds. But the break up was the result of seventy-four years of repeated predatory activity on the part of AT&T, investigations by the ICC (later FCC), and government policy aimed at curtailing AT&T's power. Note that the ICC's first investigation into antitrust violations started in 1910 and that it took two antitrust cases (both settled out of court) to break the company up.

          At its height, the Bell system included AT&T, Western Union, Western Electric, Bell Labs, and all the regional bell operating companies. They had their own radio network and were even attempting to get in on producing motion pictures prior to the consent decree of 1956.

          For many years, you could be heavily penalized for putting a piece of cellophane tape on your telephone. No consumer purchased equipment. No acustic fibers that would effectively mute the device, nothing. In essence your telephone was the equivalent of closed source software today. It was licensed to you. You could not dissassemble it. You could not extend it. You could not purchase another one and swap parts. You could not even purchase another one and connect it to the Bell network. And if you did, they would sense the impedance differences and disconnect your service.
          • It was only though the hard work of the folks at the FCC and NASA that we have any competition in the telphone market today.

            Yes, and today the nice folks at the FCC are busy rigging the game against the telephone companies even though they are facing a three front war against major competitors (VoIP, Cable providers, Cell Phones). Care to explain why Time Warner doesn't have to let a startup use their cable plant but Verizon does? Said startup can sell one of Verizon's lines for pennies on the dollar a

        • Yes, the POTS lines stayed up. If you had any clue how the POTS systems or cell systems worked, you would realize how silly that argument was. In a nutshell (I'm good at nutshells, people tell me I'm nuttier than a squirrel turd.) The POTS line in your house is run from a CO (Central Office) with usually one big telephone switch, which is easy to have one big battery bank (usually there is one set of batteries in each cabinet to prevent any one cabinet from failing). In the event of a catastrophic power
    • AT&T's Bell System (aka Ma Bell) was the large telephone system that served the US until the 1980s.

      It was ruled an illegal monopoly and broken up into many smaller regional companies (the so-called "Baby Bells"). SBC was one of the baby bells.
    • by Jynx97 (834066) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:26PM (#13890775)
      Like Ma Bell, I Got The Ill Communication!!
    • by mrsbrisby (60242) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:28PM (#13890795) Homepage
      Alexander Graham Bell -> American Bell -> American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) + Western Electric -> Bell Laboratories (Bell Labs).

      Bell Labs did everything first: telephones, lasers, telecommunications satellites, electronic and packet switching, UNIX, etc.

      In 1949 Bell Labs was sued for antitrust. They settled in 1956 with the US DOJ. Part of the settlement is that Bell Laboratories couldn't use one monopoly (telephone) to gain others. In 1974 they got another antitrust suit which was to be split up in 1984.

      Prior to 1984, there was one telephone company. The bell. Mother bell. Ma Bell. Whatever you like. It was so huge and spanned so many products and etc, that many people didn't know where one part began and another ended. They kept telephone and data circuit prices real high, so the DOJ's decision to make a bunch of little bells (baby bells) was to make it easier for others to compete and hopefully bring the prices down.

      It didn't work.
      • by JWW (79176) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:49PM (#13891022)
        It didn't work.

        Really? Many people like to claim that the breakup of AT&T meant nothing. But I have to ask. "Do you have a cell phone?"

        I don't see any reason the the telephone monopoly would have ever gladly spawned the cellular telephone network. They might have developed it yes, but they would have had no impetus to provide good coverage and reasonable rates.

        Any scenario I could imagine where AT&T was the only phone company providing cell service doesn't look good at all.
        • by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @04:08PM (#13891802) Homepage Journal
          Any scenario I could imagine where AT&T was the only phone company providing cell service doesn't look good at all.
          But it wouldn't have been. In most Western free-market countries, cellular service was deliberately un-monopolised. The dominant landline operator was usually given a franchise together with a competitor, because there's no reason why cellular should be a natural monopoly. It's cheap to deploy, a substantial proportion of the costs are per-customer (as opposed to landline service where it's more per-street)

          In Britain, BT was given an effective monopoly on landline telephone service in 1984. At around the same time, the UK government set up two cellular franchises, and while it allowed BT to be involved with owning one of the operators, it actually insisted that BT own a minority share (Cellnet, for it is them, was majority owned by a company largely known for delivering parcels and money.)

          In the early nineties, as this wasn't creating enough competition, they opened up three more franchises (though two franchisees merged early on), and the EU itself forced the UK to open up more (albeit resulting in only one more competitor) a few years ago for 3G services.

          I can't imagine it being any different in the US. The AMPS network supported B and A carriers from the start. Would the FCC not have opened up the 1900MHz band in the mid-nineties?

          Not that I think the break-up of AT&T did nothing. But the notion that AT&T having a regulated monopoly would have meant it would have controlled cellular too strikes me as unlikely. The only change I can possibly think of is that it's possible that the calling-party-pays scheme would have been more feasable in an environment in which one landline operator exists who sets the charges for every type of call. And, having lived under both regimes, I can't honestly tell you if that'd have been better or worse.


        • Really? Many people like to claim that the breakup of AT&T meant nothing. But I have to ask. "Do you have a cell phone?"


          People miss the point. The AT&T divestiture was offered in exchange for allowing divisions of AT&T to monetize products they were not otherwise allowed to sell. Independant wireless phone providers (ala the Carterphone) were encouraged by the FCC, as were alternate long distance circuits (Microwave Communications, Inc-- guess what company they are today ;-) ), etc.

          The idea was
      • I would say prices have gone down. In the 80's the price of long distance was over 10 cents a minute. Now, you can get plans that run about 2 cents a minute. I've even seen calling cards that give long distance for under a penny a minute. I do agree that the Bells owning the lines still impedes competition (I'd rather the local government own the infrastructure, the same way the government owns the roads), but I would say that the breakup of AT&T and the competition from Sprint, MCI, and other compet
  • Cool (Score:5, Funny)

    by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:16PM (#13890679)
    Can we have Western Electric and Bell Labs back too?
    • They may be gone, but their tech lives on [westernelectric.com]!
      • Re:Western Electric (Score:3, Informative)

        by ackthpt (218170) *
        They may be gone, but their tech lives on!

        Western Electric made telephones you could drive nails with. Most of the phones you get today would break if you dropped them only once, phone cable dialectric craps out after a few months. Stuff that was built to hold up for decades will probably still be around when the cockroaches are all that's left roaming the earth.

        • > Western Electric made telephones you could drive nails with.

          Exactly my point. They put up satellites with MTBF in the 50 year range, neighborhood switch enclosures that would stand up to a small truck, and a million windowless buildings that would survive The Bomb.
          And the switching stuff Bell Labs did: whoa! Remember, Penzias and Wilson were working for Bell Labs, too.

    • Re:Cool (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bedroll (806612)
      Bell labs only changed their name. They're still around today operating as Lucent. http://www.bell-labs.com/ [bell-labs.com]

      On the other hand, AT&T had a nifty lab of their own. http://public.research.att.com/ [att.com]

      I don't see what the hubbub about all of this is, though. The forced split of AT&T was a success, in so much as creating competition and removing the public's reliance on a single firm. With this acquisition by one of the largest baby bells it brings the company back in line to compete. It's not like they'

      • Re:Cool (Score:4, Informative)

        by JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:18PM (#13891322) Homepage
        Sorry to bear bad news, but most of AT&T Labs has been outsourced to IBM as of last May.
        IBM is actively trying to move as much of that work as possible to India, and they are overt about this. It's discussed openly in director-level all-hands meetings.
        I used to work for Labs, and became an IBM employee with the outsourcing, and then found myself reporting to someone with the @in.ibm.com address.
        Then the people who knew WHY we did our jobs kept leaving, and getting replaced by people who only knew how to populate status reports and timesheet codes.

        Then I quit and got a job in the Energy sector instead.

        AT&T Labs is essentially gone, and will never be reformed in the SBC/AT&T merged company.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:17PM (#13890682) Homepage
    I think that with the tremendous variety of communications options available today, they simply aren't as dangerous to the consumer as they once were. While companies can certainly get "too big" and I love to hate all the big guys, I think this will all be just fine... I don't need or subscribe to their service and I don't plan to.
    • by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedyNO@SPAMtpno-co.org> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:19PM (#13890704) Homepage
      I would argue this point: SBC is already a horrendous company to work with. And have you ever tried to get DSL service without phone service?

      Do you really believe this will get better as there are fewer and fewer options?
      • I can attest to this. SBC majorly sucks on toast. Just initiating for them to turn on the telephone service for the first time(translation: click "OK" at the call center) costs $50.
        • There's a reason for why they charge $50 to click "OK".

          The $50-or-so price is cast in stone, as a tariffed rate!

          Back about 15 years ago, when the price was merely $33 for flipping a switch (no fancy "OK" buttons to click here), a family friend of ours got a phone line activated.

          Turns out, the wires were too ratty/old to hold voice service: static, buzzing, dropped calls, and the like.

          The phone company came out, and ran over ONE MILE of new wiring, including telephone poles, through a forest, just to reach his house!

          This was in a small little rural town, as you might have guessed. No way would he have been able to pay the true market rate for the labor/equipment to install the phone line, which I guess would have cost at least $10,000.00 if he had hired a crew to do it privately. "Universal service" at work!

          This is why you're paying $50 for them to hit a button: the cost to you, and essentially everybody else, was $0.05 for 15 seconds of a call-center employee's time. It's just these rare exceptions, that bring the average subsidized rate up to $50 or so.

          And, no, the phone company will NOT give him DSL service today, nor install a second voice line. I wonder why? :)
      • Yeah, I'm just trying to get DSL even though I *have* their phone service, and I can't - their page tells me I'm not a customer of SBC :/
      • Exactly (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Infonaut (96956)
        They're not as dangerous as before, except if you live in a place where their competition has been muscled out through legally dubious tactics (Covad), or has been late in entering the came (Comcast). A choice between two crappy monoliths isn't much of a choice. SBC has screwed me consistently since they pushed Covad out of our area back in 2000 or so. Going from Covad to SBC was torturous. Then when I moved (still in the same general area) I had to go with SBC for my DSL from the get-go, but they screwed u
    • times change (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RealProgrammer (723725) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:24PM (#13890755) Homepage Journal
      Like IBM, and maybe soon Microsoft, the conditions which allowed the phone monopoly to exist no longer are present. A single company can't dominate the computer industry the way IBM did, nor the communications industry the way AT&T did.

      How long before Microsoft lose its monopoly on desktop computing software?
      • Re:times change (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Lumpy (12016)
        You forget, IBM and microsoft is not forced upon you. (ok some might argue that point) but in many places SBC is forced upon you because that is the only choice for Local telephone service and broadband. and in those instances they enjoy abusing the customer because they know you can not go anywhere else. when I lived in northern michigan Verizon was like that (then was called GTE) they did not care one bit about the customer because what were you going to do there was no competition and oh gee cellular i
  • by wiredog (43288) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:18PM (#13890698) Journal
    And thank $Deity for that. Ma Bell did quite a bit of good, Bell Labs being a prime example, but the modern internet/www/etc wouldn't have been possible without the breakup. At least there's some competition, driving down prices and increasing usability, today.
  • by blamanj (253811) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:19PM (#13890703)
    We Don't Care, We Don't Have To.

    Get Lily Tomlin [tvacres.com] on the line, she's got work to do.
  • Last week the police came to my home and demanded immediate entry (they said they didn't need a warrant for "a case like this") to search for anyone in need of help that may have called. Our telephones were completely out of order (no dial tone) at the time the police say the call came in, and I was sitting peacefully having my second cup of coffee for the morning. After I realized that the telephone company had somehow mis-connected my wife's telephone to the 911 emergency number while the telephones were
    • by Kainaw (676073) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:25PM (#13890769) Homepage Journal
      Sounds like a great idea! We don't want Big Brother spying on us, so lets run out and get cell phones that will allow Big Brother to track where we are every second of the day since we will always have the phone with us. That will show those Big Brothers!!!
    • So...How did the event play out? Quick search for bodies followed by sincere apologies, or invasive search worthy of community outrage?
    • by RKBA (622932) *
      No, our cellular telephone plan is NOT with Cingular! ;-)
    • by Krach42 (227798) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:28PM (#13890801) Homepage Journal
      After I realized that the telephone company had somehow mis-connected my wife's telephone to the 911 emergency number while the telephones were out of order and repairmen were out working on the lines because of the recent thunderstorms

      Can you say accident?

      Last week the police came to my home and demanded immediate entry (they said they didn't need a warrant for "a case like this") to search for anyone in need of help that may have called.

      This would be a good thing. Warrants aren't required when there is reasonable cause. Having a 911 call placed from your line without an answer is reasonable cause.

      You had a bad experience, no reason to think that there's some grand conspiracy to have the police check your house.

      I had a situation where at college, a friend and I were sitting playing video games with our door open, when two cops came up, and one used the door for cover with his gun drawn and said something along the lines of don't worry, stay back... just plain "stay out of our way." Some other guy had talked to his girlfriend, she was scared he might kill himself, and that he might have a gun, and thus called the local cops where she was at, who called the local cops where we were at, who responded like they did.

      I'd say the guy were pissed (he didn't have a gun, and wasn't going to kill himself; his girlfriend was just overreacting). Do I think there was some grand conspiracy for the cops to have come by my room with guns drawn? Hell know, coincidence and accident man. Nothing more, nothing less.
    • Lets hope the cops don't come back, because if they saw something during the search worth arresting you for you won't be able to phone home from jail now. The phones in every jail I've been in (thankfully only two, for minor misdemeanors...) do not call out to cell phones. The only folks you can call are good old landlines. This is the only reason I still have my account with Ma Bell, on the outside chance I need to make that dreaded "one phone call".

      If anyone's mileage varies here please correct me and pro
    • Consider the other point of view. Consider what if this was a domestic dispute? What if someone called 911, but was forced to hang up at gun point. Do you want the police to blindly accept the word of anyone who answers the door. To search your house, the police have to have probable cause. And if they reasonably believe that a crime is occuring, they have probable cause to enter. I believe that receiving a 911 call, even if it is cut off, provides the police with reasonable suspicion that a crime is
    • I'm amazed you were able to get the phone line physically removed.

      I had a house where the previous owners had had phone service ran to a garage apartment. I was remodelling and wanted it removed as its placement on the building was awkward and in my way.

      The linemen were working in the alley behind my place and wouldn't remove it without a work order. Fair enough. I called and after almost an hour of being transferred around, I got someone to place a work order to remove the phone line.

      Fortunately I was a
  • by Nick Driver (238034) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:20PM (#13890713)
    I just recently met with some SBC reps last week who are trying to sell my employer a new phone system, and heard the AT&T name change from them. I asked of them now that SBC owns AT&T if they wished that AT&T had retained ownership of Unix, in light of certain events that have transpired over the years. Their answer was "Absolutely!"
  • by elwinc (663074) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:22PM (#13890737)
    Ma Bell brought us the transistor. My guess is the fallout from that single invention drives about 30% of our economy. And let's not forget the development of Unix and C, and the discovery of pulsars. Sure, they were a huge slow bureaucracy, but the research arm changed our lives forever. I'll never forget you, Ma Bell. Unfortunately, the landline phone business is a dinosaur, and will never again support anything like Bell Labs. If you have a cable modem and a cell phone, landline phones are completely optional; there's no chance to reassembel the old Bell monopoly.
  • Good description (Score:3, Informative)

    by interiot (50685) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:23PM (#13890739) Homepage
    Here's some fantastic diagrams that describe the history of telecom. See pages 9 through 12 on this powerpoint slide from MIT [mit.edu]. The AT&T breakup made things kind of complicated, the 1996 Telecom Act made them even more complicated, but has allowed everything to go back to a pre-breakup configuration.
  • by Jeff Mahoney (11112) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:23PM (#13890741)
    So are all their customers now in for some ill communication?
  • The 80's are back (Score:5, Insightful)

    by heroine (1220) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:23PM (#13890750) Homepage
    The last time AT&T was on TV commercials, QA engineers could afford houses, people could retire at 50, and gas was $0.89. Having the word AT&T back on TV is going to remind a lot of people of better times.

    It's about time they did something to improve their situation by going back to a name from the 80's. When you're a front end to an Indian outsourcing business whose only product is your name, changing your name has a big impact. Hopefully they'll still have enough money to buy the rasterline globe trademark back from Infosys.

  • could it be? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sulli (195030) *
    Bell Is Back [bellisback.com] (flash)
  • by Stavr0 (35032) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:25PM (#13890767) Homepage Journal
    Does that mean they're reviving the 'Death Star' logo too?

    "That blast came from the Death Star! That thing's operational!"
    "It's a trap!"

  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:26PM (#13890779) Homepage Journal
    SBC/AT&T announced they were looking to acquire the SCO Group and Lucent Technologies. Judge Greene's rotting corpse is reported to have been purchased by the local electric company, who announced it would be used for electric power generation it was spinning so fast, for an undisclosed sum
  • Looks like the stock market gets to modify Judge Greene's Modified Final Judgement [google.com] again and again and again.

    Well, at least the "new" stock ticker symbol should fit the SBC to a "T."
  • Formerly called SBC Technology Resources, Inc., currently called SBC Labs [sbc.com], will it be renamed to Bell Labs now that the former holder of the name gave it up for the trendy 90's marketroid name of "Lucent"?

    Ma Bell's daughter grew up, and she's no dammyankee. Bye bye New Jersey, hello Texas.

    • by sg3000 (87992) * <.sg_public. .at. .mac.com.> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:47PM (#13891000)
      > Formerly called SBC Technology Resources, Inc., currently called SBC Labs, will it be renamed to Bell Labs
      > now that the former holder of the name gave it up for the trendy 90's marketroid name of "Lucent"?

      If things keep going the same for Lucent, they might not be needing that name any longer, either.

      From today's New York Times [nytimes.com]:
      speculation about Lucent's long-term outlook - and even its survival as an independent company - gathered steam yesterday after it released earnings for the fourth quarter. Profits plunged 69 percent compared with the same quarter a year ago, to $374 million, or 8 cents a share, from $1.21 billion, or 23 cents a share.

    • For all the talk about the evil monopoly, the fact is that the confortable non-competative enviroment of the monopoly allowed AT&T to subsidize all the cool research at Bell Labs. Now-a-days, the ultra-competitve, cost-cutting, outsourcing-to-save-a-dime way of business would never tolerate a "dead-weight" research division that wasn't turning a quick direct profit. The modern business model of pursuit of a quick profit and "enhancing shareholder value" means that the kind of long term research done by
  • by Dolly_Llama (267016) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:30PM (#13890809) Homepage
    It's not just Ma Bell. Consider the mergers in the oil industry and the shared refining / distribution systems, and you could make a good argument that Standard Oil is back too.
  • Only 10K? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Weaselmancer (533834) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:33PM (#13890837)

    Any decent SCSI-2 compliant judge corpse should spin at least 15K.

  • hmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by StarvingSE (875139) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:33PM (#13890847)
    Does anyone remember the scene in Terminator 2 when Arnie shoots the frozen T-1000 and it smashes to a million pieces, only to coalesque back into a big glob of liquid metal again?

    For some reason that image came to mind when reading this article.....
  • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:35PM (#13890871) Journal
    It's sort of a bit like the opposite of the Big Bang really. You take a giant corporation, break it up into lots of little ones, and eventually it gravitationally collapses back into the original giant corporation (and gets broken up, rinse, lather repeat). I bet if they re-broke AT&T again tomorrow, in 20 years it will have re-formed, just like the Bad Terminator from Terminator 2.
  • Does this mean that Captain Crunch is coming out of retirement soon?
  • I guess they'll have to rename SBC Park [wikipedia.org] again. The stadium was finished only 5 years ago, and will be on it's third name if they decide to scrap the SBC Park name.
  • by angelasmark (856143) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:41PM (#13890948) Journal
    These mergers in the telco industry are simply adjustmets to survive. With Muni-Wifi becoming more prevalent and VOIP cellphones coming out there is less and less need for land line telephones. Saying Ma Bell is back may be a little too strong with the amount of competition when it comes to telephone service. Its also starting to look like Internet service may be looking more like a 3 way competition with muni wifi coming to San Francisco, Anaheim, and Philly in the near future. We're actually getting more options as consumers and the telco are merging again as a result.
  • SBC in Ventura, California is amazingly unprepared to do business efficiently.
  • by Aqua OS X (458522) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:43PM (#13890963)
    OK, so the SF Giants no longer play in "Pacific Bell Park"... we JUST changed the name to "SBC Park" after the recent Pac Bell / SBC merger.

    So, now it's probably going to be "AT&T Park ?!" This is ridiculous. I miss the days when our stadiums had names that didn't change. The 49ers have played in Candlestick, which was renamed "3COM," which has now been renamed "Monster" Park. And now the Giant's stadium is getting it's 3rd name as well. uhh. Time to change the freeway signs AGAIN.

    And on a side note, is it possible for me to change my Slashdot nickname to "Pepsi Presents AquaOSX?"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:44PM (#13890970)
    Remember in Back to the Future II when old Marty got a call from Needles and a voice at the end of the call said "Thank you for using AT&T"? Well it looks like that movie accurately predicted the return of the company back in 1988!

    That movie is like Nostradomus on flim!
  • WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Moonwick (6444) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:49PM (#13891012) Homepage
    "Meanwhile, a great force and a high pitched whining sound has been reported from Judge Greene's grave as he spins at nearly 10K RPM."

    Or maybe Judge Greene realizes that the telecommunications business has changed dramatically in twenty years and that 'Ma Bell' would no longer have a monopoly, so he doesn't actually give a shit. But don't let that keep you from sensationalizing a story, slashdot!
  • by scronline (829910) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:55PM (#13891081) Homepage
    So much money was spent to declare an anti-trust/monopoly against the telco giant...now we're just letting it all fall right back into place.

    Here's another great one for you, the remedy for the anti-trust/monopoly wasn't really a remedy. Each "baby bell" was still a monopoly in it's region. You don't have a choice what phone carrier to use if you're in SBC's region, same with Verizon, SWBell, whatever.

    What NEEDED to be done is one company handles all the infrastructure. They wouldn't be allowed to do ANYTHING other than maintain the lines...that's it....nothing more....ever....period. With an oversight commitee or something to keep them from price gouging or taking advantage of that situation. Then they sell access to those lines to anyone who wanted it. You would then have your choice of phone carriers anywhere in the US as well as internet providers over DSL without having to STILL pay SBC/Verizon/whoever for use of their phone line, plus transport of the DSL.

    I can't tell you how many people HATE SBC and refuse to do ANY business with them. But because you have to have an SBC line to get DSL if you're in SBC's region, you're just S.O.L. How is that NOT a monopoly? I mean really.
  • by hey! (33014) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:56PM (#13891084) Homepage Journal
    He's still waiting for residential ISDN. Apparently the crypt is too far from the CO.

    If you need to get a hold of him though, call Mary Baker Eddy and leave a message for him.
  • Turn, turn, turn (Score:3, Informative)

    by fm6 (162816) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @07:00PM (#13893177) Homepage Journal
    Meanwhile, a great force and a high pitched whining sound has been reported from Judge Greene's grave as he spins at nearly 10K RPM.
    Not quite true. Greene was pretty hard on AT&T, but he didn't actually break them up. They broke themselves up voluntarily, using the anti-trust suit as an excuse to convert themselves from a utility to a commercial company. The theory was that they had been prevented from cashing in on all the cool stuff they invented (transistors, communications sattelites, and Unix are highlights from a very long list) because as a public utility, they couldn't engage in commercial ventures. If they spun off the RBOCs [wikipedia.org], they could go into any business they wanted to.

    The big flaw in that strategy was that they didn't know how to be a commercial company. Every venture of theirs collapse because of bureaucratic nonsense and bad planning. I worked for the company that built Unix PC [taronga.com] for them (basically, one of our 68010 time-sharing boxes clumsily mated with some of their telecom hardware plus an ineptly designed keyboard and display). AT&T spent something like a billion dollars developing this product and paying for initial production — and never even tried to sell it. By the time it reached the market, they decided that they were going to to IBM-compatibles instead. Which made a certain amount of sense — except that product line didn't sell either.

    How many different ways did they screw up? Let's see, "phone stores", the TCI buyout...

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