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A HISTORY OF COMPUTER COMMUNICATIONS: 1968 -1988

Organizations

The coming into existence of new markets is seldom predictable or simply the actions of corporations innovating products for sale. If there are no buyers, the exchange essential to markets fails to form. However, markets require more than buyers and sellers. They also require the institutional organizations that create and enforce the rules that make the existence of such needed forms as money, contracts, insurance, public financial markets, venture capital, the legal system, and of particular importance to computer communication markets, standards possible. The focus of attention in this reconstruction is the emergence of start-up corporations. In each of th.e three new market sectors observed – Data Communications, Networking and Internetworking – start-ups forced the action and dominated eventual market outcomes. But for each new market, there were existing firms; in some cases the existing firms were gigantic corporations in others they were the start-ups of an earlier to form market. How start-ups responded to the formation of new markets will be of special interest in this reconstruction. The importance of buyers will be treated in aggregate and statistically, thus more a backdrop to the decisions and actions of entrepreneurs and engineers forming start-ups.

Additional organizations necessary to the understanding of the history of Computer Communications are government agencies, such as the Defense Advanced Projects Agency (DARPA) or the Justice Department, non-government organizations, such as Universities or the Independent Data Communications Manufacturers Association (IDCMA), and, of particular interest, standards-making organizations such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) or the International Standards Organization (OSI).

ORGANIZATIONS

Start-Up Organizations by Sector

Start-ups begin when an entrepreneur decides to act on the vision he or she has for how new products can better serve users' needs. In the communication start-ups of this history, the entrepreneurs are invariably engineers. Having decided to act, the entrepreneur faces three essential challenges: recruit the core members of the founding team, reduce the vision to a business plan, and raise the needed capital. Once successful, the start-up has entered the Collective stage. The essential task of the Collective stage is to create working product. The Competitive stage comes next and lasts until the firm has achieved profitability. It is around this time that the firm has the opportunity to access the public capital markets by launching its Initial Public Offering (IPO). Few firms reach this stage, but those that do next enter the Persistent stage and must not only continually improve their products but must make the risky move into new technology-based products. Again, only a small number of firms can attain the Adaptive stage with the promise of becoming really substantial firms. The unique challenges of each stage will be observed most closely in two firms of each market secor. But to understand the coalesence of the inital surge of start-ups into market order requires also observing some of the history of closely competitive firms. Lastly, other firms that have some impact on the principal firms will also be mentioned. While the narrative schema of stages helps order the histories, each firm's history can vary from the general. The start-ups of every market sector become existing firms to succeeding markets.

DATA COMMUNICATIONS

NETWORKING

INTERNETWORKING

PRINCIPAL ORGANIZATIONS
Codex 3Com Network Equipment Technologies
Micom Ungermann-Bass Wellfleet
ORGANIZATIONS OF SECONDARY FOCUS
Individuals Interviewed in these organizations
Milgo Sytek cisco Systems
General DataCom Bridge Communications Retix
Infotron Interlan Cohesive Networks
Timeplex Proteon Network Switching Systems
Concord Data Systems Excelan
Digital Communication Associates
OTHER START-UPS
Individuals Interviewed in these organizations
Vadic Communications Machinery Corporation
Universal Data Systems Metapath
Comdesign Equinox
Telebit
Telenet
Hayes
Intertel

Existing Organizations by Sector

For every market sector there already exist firms that offer slightly similar products, or are logical firms to offer products, to those that will come to define the new market. For example, to all three Computer Communication markets, computer as well as telecommunication firms fit the definition of existing firms. However, only a few of them successfully enter one of the Computer Communication markets. Another example of existing firms to Data Communications were defense contractors building modems or multiplexers under military contracts. A third example of existing firms are the Data Communication start-ups serving as existing firms to both Networking and Internetworking and the start-ups of Networking serving as existing firms to Internetworking. While there are generally many existing firms, only a few will be highlighted.

DATA COMMUNICATIONS

NETWORKING

INTERNETWORKING

COMPUTER ORGANIZATIONS
International Business Machines (IBM)
Hewlett Packard (HP)
Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC)
Xerox Corpration
Prime Computers
Wang
TELECOMMUNICATION ORGANIZATIONS
American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T)
Bolt, Beranack and Newmann
DEFENSE CONTRACTORS
Rockwell International
Stelma Electronics

About Government Organizations

The U.S. Government played crucial roles in the historu of Computer Communivations. The Defense Department contracted to buy data communication products when they were not available commercially and through the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) they funded both the creation of the Arpanet and the continuing work to create the TCP/IP networking protocols. The Justice Department forced the breakup of ATT. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) overturned a long standing practice of protecting ATT's refusal to allow foreign attachments with the Carterfone decision and participated in the eventual breakup of ATT through its Computer Inquiry decisions. The National Bureau of Standards played important roles in the advancement of networking technologies and the establishment of netwokring standards.

 
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Beginnings of Modem Competition: Codex and Milgo 1956-1967 1.1
Intergalactic Network: 1962-1964 2.1
The Seminal Experiment: 1965 2.2
Planning the Arpanet 2.7
IPTO Management Changes: 1969 4.4
ICCC Demonstration: 1971 – 1972 4.12
Commercializing Arpanet: 1972-1975 6.1
Packet Radio and Robert Kahn: 1972-1974 6.2
Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) 1973-1976 6.4
TCP/IP and XNS: 1979 - 1980 9.6
TCP/IP and XNS: 1981 - 1983 9.8
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT

The Justice Department: IB

M and AT&T

5.2
The AT&T Settlement: January 1982 8.26
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Carterfone, AT&T and the FCC 1948- 1967 1.2
The FCC and Computer Inquiry I 1966-1967 1.4
Carterfone, Computer Inquiry I and Deregulation 1967-1968 1.10
AT&T and Computer Inquiry I 1969 3.3
AT&T and Computer Inquiry I 1970-1971 3.8
The Justice Department: IBM and AT&T 5.2
CPE Certification and Computer Inquiry II 5.7
NATIONAL BUREAU OF STANDARDS
National Bureau of Standards and MITRE 1971-1979 6.13
The NBS and MITRE Workshop of January 1979 7.1
The Workshop 7.3
The NBS and MITRE Workshop of May 1979 7.7
The Symposium 7.9
IEEE Committee 802: 1979 – 1980 9.2
IEEE Committee 802 and DIX: 1980 – 1981 9.4
IEEE Committee 802: 1981 - 1982 9.9
The Role of the NBS 12.8
Autofact Trade Show - November 1985 12.9
The NBS in Action: OSINET, COS, and GOSIP 12.10

About Non-Government Organizations

There exist a vast array of ogranizations and institutions that are neither direct market competitors nor governmental organizations that contribute to the history of Computer Communications. The following are examples of organizations and institutions that co-evolved with Computer Communications: venture capital and public Initial Pulic Offering markets for high technology companies; emerged as a consequence of Computer Commuincations: Independent Data Communications Manufacturers Association (IDCMA), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Committee 002 (IEEE Committeee 802) and a collaboration of Digital Corporation, Intel and Xerox (DIX); or were activities of existing organizations tailored to the needs of Computer Communicaitons: trade shows (Enterprise Networking Event (ENE) and Interop Trade Show), investor conferences (the Alex Brown & Sons Conference: March 1983), and market research reports of either investment banks (Alex. Brown & Sons or Salomon Brothers Inc.) or market research firms (Dataquest or Datapro Research).

DATA COMMUNICATIONS
Euphoric Markets and Venture Capital 1967-1968 1.7
Firms and Collective Behavior: The Creation of the IDCMA 1971 3.9
NETWORKING
The Return of Venture Capital 7.10
Market Analysis: Samples of Expert’s Opinions 1984-1987 11.18
The Yankee Group 11.19
Datapro Research 11.20
Alex. Brown & Sons 11.21
Salomon Brothers Inc 11.22
INTERNETWORKING
 IEEE Committee 802: 1979 – 1980 9.2
 IEEE Committee 802 and DIX: 1980 – 1981 9.4
IEEE Committee 802: 1981 - 1982 9.9
Alex Brown & Sons Conference: March 1983 10.1
Department of Defense/OSI and TCP/IP 12.7
The ENE Trade Show 12.12
The Interop Trade Show 12.13