|Home Page Commentary 20 Dec 1997|
Along came a company named Carterfone. They had developed a voice-activated device which would turn on a radio transmitter. AT&T went to court to stop Carterfone.
[The next paragraphs are taken from information which I have been told but
have not been able
At one point in the trial, the Carterfone attorneys demonstrated that their device would function properly even if you held the device a few centimeters from the earpiece of a telephone handset.
The judge asked the AT&T attorneys if they were contending that even under these conditions the device was 'attached' and could still harm AT&T's telephone equipment.
AT&T's counsel said that they were contending exactly that.
The judge didn't buy this argument, and, as they say, the rest is history. This landmark Carterfone decision (as it came to be called) permitted people to attach non-AT&T equipment to their phones as long as it was not for purposes of harming the equipment. It was the beginning of the end of the AT&T monopoly.
According to a story in the 20 December 1997 issue of the San Jose Mercury News, U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson took a new Micron personal computer running the latest version of Windows '95 and Internet Explorer 3.02 preinstalled, and was able to uninstall it in less than ninety seconds. He is now asking Microsoft to explain to him why they are finding it so difficult to comply with his order to separate the operating system from the browser.
It is said that history never repeats itself, but historical situations do.
See you next year.
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