Virulent Word of Mouse

October 5, 2003

Book Review: Jumping on Bandwagons

Filed under: Book reviews — Shane Greenstein @ 7:46 pm
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Think back to the days when the world’s largest telephone company, AT&T, was also the world’s largest regulated monopolist. It was an insanely profitable company, generating billions of dollars in revenue a year.This same company organized one of the seminal commercial failures of the 1970s, the Picturephone. AT&T had followed all the rules, read all the technological forecasts, and-so its managers thought-began to develop the product of the future.Yet, the Picturephone had one huge problem: Nobody wanted to buy it.

The whole affair was a spectacular and embarrassing commercial disaster.To be sure, there have been many other failures of new ventures in communications since then, but none quite as embarrassing (with the possible exception of the recent disaster at Iridium, the satellite phone consortium organized by Motorola).

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