[TUHS] V7 Addendem [ really lawyers and AT&T consent decree ]

William Pechter pechter at gmail.com
Thu Dec 7 05:20:46 AEST 2017

Clem Cole wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 6, 2017 at 1:49 PM, Jon Steinhart <jon at fourwinds.com
> <mailto:jon at fourwinds.com>> wrote:
>     There's another aspect of this that I think that many people
>     misunderstand
>     which is that Judge Green gave AT&T exactly what they wanted. 
>     AT&T knew
>     that in the future the money was in data and were willing to trade
>     their
>     monopoly for that business.  From their perspective, it worked. 
>     For the
>     rest of us, not so good.
For AT&T (which no longer is a company since the current AT&T is really
AT&T in name only.
SBC Communications bought AT&T Corp. on November 18, 2005, and changed
its name to AT&T Inc. (The real AT&T
is no longer...)

>     Some of us remember the days in which phones were reliable and you
>     could
>     understand the person on the other end.  Or when your phone lasted 60+
>     years.  Or the current debate about whether it's ok to eliminate
>     exchange
>     powered phones that work in an emergency.
>     During the primaries when Ted Cruz would stand up and hold a dial
>     phone
>     and say "this is what government regulation got you" I always thought
>     "Yeah, give me more of that.  It's 60 years old, still works
>     better than
>     what you can get today, and if you hurl it across the room it'll still
>     work which is more than you can say for anything made post-split."
>     Not to mention it ended one of the best research labs in history.
> ‚ÄčAmen brother Jon....‚Äč
And it also helped cause the end of a number of computer companies,
including NCR, DEC, Pyramid Technologies...

The bad decisions AT&T made once they got into the computer hardware
business were legendary.

They had product support problems (replaced a significant quantity of
6300 motherboards on their PC for an MS-DOS clock problem they
introduced by clearing the seconds in the RTC chip at each boot)... They
had issues with their Field Service techs being unwilling to work on
Pyramid OS/x boxes under Unix (AT&T System 7000) because that was system
software and they were only willing to work with a (nonexistant on
Pyramid) offline diagnostics set. 

An AT&T Union tech walkout from Pyramid classes was averted on that
one...  They were not too successful selling Alliant FX/1 and FX/8 boxes
as AT&T machines as well.  I worked for both computer companies in
service and training and saw this first hand.AT&T was to hand AT&T
Business cards to Alliant Service personnel to handle the customers.

They tried to sell the 3b20 simplex box against the Vax into scientific
markets only to find that although the integer performance was
superior... Scientific use really needs hardware floating point.  The
later 3b line got much better but the first entry was frightenening

Unfortunately, half of Pyramid's sales were through OEM's
(Siemens-Nixdorf and AQT&T mostly) so the ton of business dropped
immediately once the NCR deal took hold.  It happened just as Pyramid
moved to DCOS/x  (Their SVR4 port to MIPS).  This killed a ton of growth
and the deal to move the US Internal Revenue from System III based Zilog
Zeus boxes to Pyramid...

Sometimes you can't always get what you want.  Sometimes when you get it
you screw yourself into the ground.

AT&T, I was told, couldn't figure out how MCI could undercut them in
long distance.  The experts said -- we have the network in place and
paid for and there's no way we could do it for under 10c per minute...
They didn't figure MCI (later LDDS) could cook the books to make the
numbers look better.

Back in '84 DEC was to train me as a Unix admin and act as the outsource
contractor supplier to AT&T.  This would've had one source of service
and support for all their Vaxes and eliminated the large collection of
Sysadmin and Operator suppliers.  Pre-IBM Global Services type stuff.  
The wife was at the Labs at the time and they supposedly announced it. 
Rumor says a DEC and AT&T merger about the same time fell apart. 
Perhaps the history is buried in the DEC Archives now in the Computer
Museuum.  I was told I was in on the deal in Oct/Nov 1983 or
84 and it fell apart the next January or so.


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