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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Monopolies and Innovation

Clarence Hickman at Bell labs had invented a mag tape telephone answering machine in the 1934... But they decided to squelch turning it into a consumer product. Locked away the files, which were soon forgotten. And it would not be available to anyone for 50 years.  Why?

Because in the 30s they believed that any indication to consumers that their phone calls could be recorded would make them less likely to use telephones. And that would harm, or even just throw some doubt on AT&Ts business model.

More on the answering machine.

The dangers of monopolies innovating.

And How ironic is that today with revelations of NSA surveillance?

Via Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires.
by Tim Wu

There is some criticism of details in the comments from people that seem to be in the know.

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