AT&T - Computer Definition
On July 9, 1877, the Bell Telephone Company was formed as a voluntary, unincorporated association. In 1878, the company split into the New England Telephone Company, charged with licensing telephone operating companies in New England, and the Bell Telephone Company, charged with licensing operating telephone companies elsewhere. In 1879, the two companies recombined to form the National Bell Telephone Company, which reorganized in 1880 and became known as American Bell Telephone Company, a Massachusetts corporation. Restrictive Massachusetts corporate laws forced American Bell to merge with its long distance subsidiary, the American Telephone and Telegraph Corporation (AT&T), a New York corporation. On December 30, 1899, the last business day of the nineteenth century, AT&T became the new parent company. AT&T grew to become the largest company in the world, employing over 1,000,000 people, and with a solid reputation for providing the best telephone service in the world. In 1984, the company was forced under the terms of the Second Computer Inquiry to spin its 22 wholly owned Bell Operating Companies (BOCs) into 7 Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs). AT&T reorganized into two business units. AT&T Long Lines became AT&T Communications, operating as an interexchange carrier (IXC). AT&T Technologies was formed of Western Electric, the manufacturing arm of AT&T, and AT&T Bell Telephone Laboratories (Bell Labs), the research and development organization. AT&T did very well over the next 13 years, focusing on its core businesses, although it did acquire and later divest NCR Corp. in a failed and costly attempt to get into the computer business. IBM previously experienced a similarly dismal failure with its acquisition of ROLM Corp., an almost legendary PBX manufacturer, which it subsequently sold to Stromberg-Carlson at a substantial loss. On January 1, 1997,AT&T conducted the largest voluntary breakup in history.The US$75 billion company split into three market-focused companies, also selling AT&T Capital Corp., its captive financing business. Approximately 8,500 employees, all in the Global Information Solutions (GSI) computer business, lost their jobs fairly immediately. GSI resulted from the NCR acquisition, which did not live up to expectations. Hundreds of thousands of others lost their jobs over time.The post-divestiture AT&T boasted assets of US$79.2 billion, annual revenues of US$75.1 billion, and a total workforce of 303,000, which was down from over 1,000,000 prior to divestiture. AT&T then went on a spending spree, variously acquiring and merging with a number of companies. In 1999, AT&T acquired MediaOne, which previously had been spun off from US West, in a bidding war against Comcast Corporation. The winning bid was in the form of AT&T stock worth US$58 billion at the time, plus the assumption of US$4.5 billion in debt.Together, these acquisitions formed AT&T Broadband, the largest CATV provider in the United States. Under extreme financial pressure due to the inflated cost of its acquisitions and the high costs of upgrading its CATV systems, AT&T Broadband agreed to merge with Comcast to form AT&T Comcast in a deal that initially valued AT&T Broadband at US$72 billion and later shrunk to US$53 billion, which did not compare favorably with the US$110.5 billion AT&T spent to form the company. In 2006, the tattered remnants of AT&T were acquired by SBC for approximately US$16 billion, which named the combined entity AT&T. In just over 20 years, one of the oldest, largest and most respected companies in the world was reduced to a property for acquisition. On a personal note, I am so very glad that I was not there to see it up close. I left the Bell System of my own free will long, long before AT&T collapsed. Heck, I never did fit in, anyway. Start Bit Parity Bit Stop Bit 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
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