5

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The Biggest Case in History

 

 

 

Ma Bell

American telecommunications from the invention of the telephone through the present day has been dominated by a single firm—AT&T and its predecessors—nicknamed Ma Bell. As we have seen, the company has been challenged by business rivals and government actions from its beginnings in 1876, but AT&T managed to come through all of its travails as the dominant player in telecommunications. Each of these struggles led to important adjustments, but remarkably the company’s leadership adopted strategies that led to its continued primacy. We have examined many of the firm’s past challenges, including the 1949 antitrust suit that initially sought to break up the company but resulted in a settlement, ...

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