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Optical/IP

Meet the New Boss

6:00 PM -- I was talking to a journalist friend about the proposed AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)/BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS) merger this morning, and he said "Yeah, it's like life. Everything just goes around in circles and it's all pointless."

I'm not sure I'm quite such a nihilist -- hey, Three 6 Mafia won an Oscar! -- but he's got a point. The upheaval in telecommunications that has cost consumers billions of dollars and torn apart one of the great corporations in American history has resulted in: More of the same. It's like the Who song: "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." Whether this will end up being a good thing for consumers and enterprise users is anybody's guess, but I'm not holding my breath. (See Cautious on Convergence.)

AT&T and BellSouth executives are touting a converged world where the new Ma Bell supplies a smorgasbord of telecom services, from POTS to push email. That kind of integration, as one telecom exec I spoke with today said, is harder to pull off than just adding footprint and bandwidth.

A Wall Street Journal headline sums up the scramble now underway to merge telecommunications services: "Fear of Being Left Out of a Wireless Future Spurs Frantic Alliances."

That story appeared on October 25, 1994.

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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