Ninety years ago, Theodore Vail - the president of AT&T - made a historic compromise.Vail believed that the telephone business needed to be run by one company - only then could it guarantee "communication with anyone that may possibly be wanted, at any time." So AT&T set about gobbling up competitors across the country, putting together the first nationwide phone network. For Vail's strategy to fly, though, there was one big hump to get over: the government, which was threatening AT&T with trust-busting on the one hand and nationalization on the other. So Vail cut a deal with the Justice Department, accepting regulation in exchange for sanctioned control of the telephone business.
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News source: Wired