Monday, January 31, 2005

Ma Bell bought by the baby and circles of life

All things are different and yet eerily the same. In the latest flurry of changes experienced by the telecomm industry, SBC has announced its intent to purchase AT&T. That's right. The mother of all communication companies, the Bell from which all others were born, is now being purchased by the babies.

Ironically, much of SBC's financial wherewithal was born out of a series of mergers and acquisitions of its former sibling Bells, which as we can recall, were all split up originally in the interest of competition. LOL.

Then again, the downfall of the famous icon of American business is more related to technology shifts than to the split which was needed way back then.

It's hard to believe, but only 15 years ago none of us could have imagined a world where a hard-wired, geographical telephone line is no longer a must-have utility. That's why owning stock in MaBell was a guaranteed winner, right? Everyone needed phone service and therefore everyone needed to put a coin in her pocket.

Today, however, "land line" household telephone service is decreasing, and many people only maintain such accounts for emergency purposes. As for long distance... who needs it? National service plans cut the costs, especially when you have 600+ minutes available on your mobile account.

Makes you wonder what we'll see in another 15 years. Will communication companies be servers for entertainment, hosting video and music on demand for personal digital media devices that support live communication and recordings? Will we take the PDMD from home to work and then dock it into the work station for instant connectivity and integration into the communication and data networks there? Then, will we return home and watch our favorite video program through it or connect it to the household integrated sound system for audio performances? What do you think?