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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontologist Aptitude Test?

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 2010 12:26:42 -0500
Message-id: <4B534852.5020601@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Rich,    (01)

I don't have first-hand experience with AT&T, but I did work for
30 years in R & D at IBM -- a company that had a monopoly or near
monopoly, depending on one's definition or point of view.    (02)

I would say that the influence of IBM on computer development was
mixed.  It promoted a great deal of extremely valuable research,
but it also hindered other valuable developments.  From what I have
seen of AT&T's research and from Bell Labs' researchers I've known,
their results also seem to be mixed.  But on the whole, I believe
that the US taxpayers and the AT&T stockholders profited enormously
from the research at Bell Labs.    (03)

RC> Bell Tel spent telephone users' money (taxpayer money, not
 > stockholder money) - the money they had paid to the feds for
 > supporting that monopoly in the first place, for poor telephone
 > service that should have been far advanced to what it finally
 > exploded into after deregulation.    (04)

I'll avoid the political debates about regulations or whose money
was being spent.  But AT&T had consistently delivered service that
was superior to and cheaper than the services provided in most other
countries around the world.  It was also better and cheaper than
the service by the few independent telephone companies in the US.    (05)

I'll agree that the cost of telephone service everywhere has become
vastly cheaper in the past 30 years.  Part of that was due to increased
competition.  Some of it was caused by the reduced amount of research
by the Baby Bells.  But most of the reduction was generated by the
advances in computer technology.  Today, the US lags behind most
other countries in the world in telephone and Internet services.
Korea, for example, is far ahead.    (06)

RC> management is only acting in concert with stockholder interests
 > when they set budgets, strategies and tactics for market control.    (07)

That's what the Baby Bells did.  They used up the stock of ideas
and patents that Bell Labs had generated, and they did nothing to
replenish the supply.    (08)

I'd compare them to Dell Inc.  Michael Dell started the company in
his college dorm room by assembling off-the-shelf parts according
to the IBM manuals.  He consistently undercut the competition by
spending nothing on research, focusing on sales and distribution,
and letting his suppliers do the high tech.    (09)

That's the Walmart model:  Focus on sales and distribution, and
outsource research, development, and manufacturing.  For the short
term, it makes money for the stockholders.  For the long term, it
bankrupts the nation.    (010)

John    (011)

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