If Ma Bell had not been Broken Up Would We have Smartphones Today?

In summary: All found on Wikipedia:The 1982 United States v. AT&T antitrust lawsuit resulted in the divestiture of AT&T's ("Ma Bell") local operating subsidiaries which were grouped into seven Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs), commonly referred to as "Baby Bells", resulting in seven independent companies, including Southwestern Bell Corporation (SBC).The first commercial automated cellular network (1G) analog was launched in Japan by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone in 1979.Thread reopened.It doesn't strike me that one thing has anything to do with the other. Can you explain why you might think there could be a connection?It seems like a very interesting question, but some links to supporting information
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bob012345
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If Ma Bell had not been broken up would we have smartphones today?
 
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bob012345 said:
If Ma Bell had not been broken up would we have smartphones today?
Yes
 
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  • #3
bob012345 said:
If Ma Bell had not been broken up would we have smartphones today?
I know this is the GD forum, but can you please provide some supporting links for this type of debate?

(Disclaimer -- I went through Graduate School on a Bell Labs scholarship and worked for Bell for a few years...)
 
  • #4
berkeman said:
I know this is the GD forum, but can you please provide some supporting links for this type of debate?

(Disclaimer -- I went through Graduate School on a Bell Labs scholarship and worked for Bell for a few years...)
It's a question for thought so I do I have to have a firm position? If you require one I would guess no, but we would have very small high tech landlines.
 
  • #5
It seems like a very interesting question, but some links to supporting information one way or the other would be helpful. For now I'll close this thread until you or others can supply some useful links. They must exist...
 
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All found on Wikipedia:

The 1982 United States v. AT&T antitrust lawsuit resulted in the divestiture of AT&T's ("Ma Bell") local operating subsidiaries which were grouped into seven Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs), commonly referred to as "Baby Bells", resulting in seven independent companies, including Southwestern Bell Corporation (SBC).

The first commercial automated cellular network (1G) analog was launched in Japan by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone in 1979.
 
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Thread reopened.
 
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I understand we discuss the subject under an assumption that rest of the world was not capable of coming up with an idea of a cellular network?

Bold assumption I must say.
 
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bob012345 said:
If Ma Bell had not been broken up would we have smartphones today?
It doesn't strike me that one thing has anything to do with the other. Can you explain why you might think there could be a connection?
 
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Imo, the important thing to recognize is that smart phones are not primarily phones, but mainly computers. The computer is the primary component, the phone is the add-on. That's why they came from a computer company, not a phone company.
 
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russ_watters said:
It doesn't strike me that one thing has anything to do with the other. Can you explain why you might think there could be a connection?
I suppose radio telephones could have independently morphed into modern smartphones competing with Ma Bell.
 
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bob012345 said:
I suppose radio telephones could have independently morphed into modern smartphones competing with Ma Bell.
I think you're looking at the question backwards. Look at my next post...
 
  • #14
From this article
A car phone is a mobile radio telephone specifically designed for and fitted into an automobile. This service originated with the Bell System, and was first used in St. Louis on June 17, 1946.

Not definitive but Bell certainly encouraged mobile radio telephony. Add a tiny computer, tv screen and camera for 'smarts'.

[edit: saw @russ_watters post after posting above. 1946 date for car phones amazes me.]

Early computers were not always equipped with network cards. Often relied on phone modems for communication. Smart phones converge several technologies. Tends to support the 'yes' reply to the OP.
 
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russ_watters said:
Imo, the important thing to recognize is that smart phones are not primarily phones, but mainly computers. The computer is the primary component, the phone is the add-on. That's why they came from a computer company, not a phone company.
How do you suppose Ma Bell would have reacted to computer companies pushing to make phones an add on to digital devices? Embrace or hinder? Or, would a wireless internet be independent of Ma Bell's reach allowing independent internet phone technology?
 
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  • #16
bob012345 said:
How do you suppose Ma Bell would have reacted to computer companies pushing to make phones an add on to digital devices? Embrace or hinder?
Without looking into the details of the history, the iPhone was first released in partnership with a baby bell. I don't see why or even how they would/could hinder.
 
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  • #17
bob012345 said:
If Ma Bell had not been broken up would we have smartphones today?
Ma Bell tried to suppress the development of MCI by refusing to interconnect with it. MCI sued and won. This led directly to the breakup of Bell Telephone.

If a communications monopoly or oligopoly refused to connect with smart phones that would pretty effectively kill the market. We see this today with Huawei smartphones. If said oligopoly were worldwide then smart phones would be a dead duck.
 

Related to If Ma Bell had not been Broken Up Would We have Smartphones Today?

1. How did the breakup of Ma Bell affect the development of smartphones?

The breakup of Ma Bell, also known as the Bell System, had a significant impact on the development of smartphones. Prior to the breakup in 1984, Ma Bell had a monopoly on telecommunications in the United States, which limited competition and innovation. After the breakup, the telecommunications industry became more open to competition and new companies began to emerge, leading to advancements in technology such as the development of smartphones.

2. Would smartphones have been invented without the breakup of Ma Bell?

It is difficult to say for certain, but it is likely that smartphones would not have been invented without the breakup of Ma Bell. The monopoly held by Ma Bell stifled competition and limited the incentive for companies to invest in new technologies. The breakup opened the door for new companies to enter the telecommunications market and fostered an environment of competition and innovation, which ultimately led to the development of smartphones.

3. How did the breakup of Ma Bell impact the telecommunications industry?

The breakup of Ma Bell had a significant impact on the telecommunications industry. It led to the development of new companies, increased competition, and advancements in technology. It also paved the way for the deregulation of the telecommunications industry, which allowed for more rapid innovation and growth. Today, the telecommunications industry is much more diverse and dynamic because of the breakup of Ma Bell.

4. What were the main reasons for the breakup of Ma Bell?

The main reasons for the breakup of Ma Bell were concerns over the company's monopoly and its impact on competition in the telecommunications industry. The government argued that the breakup would promote competition and innovation, and ultimately benefit consumers. Additionally, there were concerns over the high prices and poor service provided by Ma Bell, which also contributed to the decision to break up the company.

5. How did the breakup of Ma Bell impact consumers?

The breakup of Ma Bell had a significant impact on consumers. It led to increased competition, which resulted in lower prices and improved services. It also opened up the market for new companies to enter and offer innovative products and services, such as smartphones. Overall, the breakup of Ma Bell benefited consumers by providing them with more choices and better telecommunications options.

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