Impressions and Expressions of Ijon
Colbert on AT&T as the T-1000 of corporations|
Current Music: Charles Mingus -- B.S.
It's quite permissible under the anti-trust laws -- at the time AT&T was broken up, it was a monopoly. But these days, as all of its components rejoin, it is anything but.
The AT&T that was broken up was basically a monopoly long-distance telecom muscling its way into more and more local markets. These days, though, it's one wireless carrier out of many, and has relatively little local telecom power now that wireless and VoIP are chewing up the local telecom market. It already long ago spun off its internet and long-distance businesses.
While Colbert definitely nails the humor of the situation (in what bizarre world does Cingular live that they think the AT&T brand name a good thing?), the general message here is that the break-up worked. The pieces of the monopoly were worth far more than the original whole, and the time they spent broken up gave new and innovative competitors the breathing-space to get established in the market. In the end everybody won, even AT&T.
US antitrust law is incoherent.
In any event, AT&T was broken-up as part of a settlement with the Justice Department, rather than because a judge decided that a break-up was the only possible remedy. And the break-up was effected at a time when rival infrastructure was far less in-plant and feasible alternative infrastructures were less feasible.
…and feasible alternative infrastructures were
less feasible fewer.