AT&T, Google, and Facebook – time for another consent decree

This paper, though written almost ten years ago, foreshadows the creation of Alphabet, the emergence of lobbying at the federal level, and making it all about the patents and the algorithms.

In late 2008, Google was the big dog that Facebook is today. The attached paper, written at that time compares and contrasts the Google of 2008 with a doyen of American industry – American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T). 

By any measure, there is no denying AT&T’s importance in the history of American and international business. Founded in 1876, the company has grown, contracted, and grown again to become a telecommunications powerhouse, projected to gross over $120B in revenue for CY 2008.

At first glance, comparing Google, Inc. (Google) to today’s AT&T appears to yield little insight. The AT&T of 2009 is a complex organism which now includes many of the companies created when AT&T divested itself of the “Baby Bells” in 1984 because of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) 1979 antitrust action and the resulting Modification of Final Judgment (MFJ) issued in 1982.  Until 1984, AT&T was a vertically integrated supplier of network.

Pierre Bedard mass comm final 7jan09




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