Re: AT&T Licensed the Transistor For Free

From time to time critics of the old Bell System gripe that the

> company was "guaranted profits" by the regulators and as such, owed > something back to the community. > Aside from the fact that regulation actually limited profits, AT&T was > indeed required to give things back. One of which was the rights to > its invention of the transistor, which were available free of charge. > (Per Ziff-Davis history). > I had always wondered why AT&T never seemed to make any money from the > invention of the transistor.

You seem misinformed. Yes, AT&T allowed other companies to "borrow" the transistor invention, but they didn't do this with a smile on their face. It was one of the many concessions made during one the many antitrust concerns. AT&T was kind of in a bind with antitrust concerns due to the technology and markets at the time and were stuck between breaking up the company or continuing to make such deals -- which were short lived. The government had plenty of antitrust actions with AT&T over the years before the last antitrust case which of course ended in 1983. If AT&T had kept the rights to the transister, it would probably be a completely different company today -- that's how big that one invention was.

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Jen Saylor
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