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Entrepreneurial Capitalism and Innovation:
A History of Computer Communications 1968-1988
By James Pelkey

Entrepreneurial Capitalism & Innovation:
A
History of Computer Communications
1968 -1988
By James Pelkey

This history is organized by three co-evolving market sectors and also standards making.
An overview of the schema is presented in the Introduction.

DATA COMMUNICATON
Ch. 1: Emergence
Ch. 3: Competition
Ch. 5: Market Order
Ch. 11: Adaptation

NETWORKING
Ch. 2: Vision
Ch. 4: Arpanet
Ch. 6: Diffusion
Ch. 7: Emergence
Ch 8: Completion
Ch. 10: Market Order

STANDARDS
Ch. 9: Creation

INTERNETWORKING
Ch. 12: Emergence

 

 

Chapter 8
Networking: Turbulence 1981-1982
The PBX, the IBM PC and the Chaos of Competition

8.28      AT&T: CBXs and LANs – to 1984

Even after the breakup, AT&T remained dominant in Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) - $4 billion of CPE assets were transferred to the new AT&T, hereafter AT&T, on January 1, 1984.[16]  Only CBXs had begun gobbling voracious bites out of AT&T’s market share beginning in the late-1970s. AT&T, free to begin competing after January 2, 1982, would take until 1983 before introducing their first CBX. The System 85 was designed for large applications: it could support up to 32,000 lines. A year later they introduced the smaller version System 75 that supported a maximum of 800 lines.[17]  They would continue to lose market share as shipping problems compounded already being late-to-market. Not until 1984 was AT&T nominally competitive.[18]

Equally, it took until June 1984 before AT&T introduced a customer-premises LAN.[19]  The Information Systems Network (ISN) did not provide for the sharing of cable as in Ethernet, for example, but was a star configuration with the wires running to terminals just like a PBX. Supporting speeds of up to only 19.2 kilobits/second, it would have no market impact.

This for all practical purposes ends the influence of AT&T on computer communications. The company that once controlled 100% of a market worth $10 million had fallen to declining importance in a $5 billion market.

On the same day that the


[16] “Intecom,” Harvard Business School, 386-053, 1985, p. 9

[17] Bells Lab Technical Journal, January-March 2000, p. 6

[18] Smith Barney Research, AT&T, Oct. 10, 1985, p. 20

[19]“AT&T announces ISN local-area network scheme,”Computerworld, July 2, 1984, p. 5