TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Very Early Modems

Re: Very Early Modems
27 May 2005 14:34:21 -0700

Jim Haynes wrote:

> We could have a very long discussion of why Western Union went under.

I would appreciate hearing your thoughts.

> The business press would say it was simply a matter that they had
> money going out a lot faster than it was coming in, and no prospects
> for reversing that situation. As an engineer I would say they did a
> lot of dumb things in the engineering and marketing end of the
> business. And it seems to have been government policy to keep
> W.U. with exactly one foot in the grave at all times.

The Oslin WU history is very critical of government policy -- he says
WU was forced to absorb at great cost the Postal Telegraph system and
constantly favored AT&T over WU.

By the late 1970s WU had recognized the classic Telegram was obsolete
and their business was focused on money transfer, which is still a big
business today.

I can understand needing AT&T for the "last mile" but for money
transfers I would think they could've used mostly their own network.
Supposedly they built microwaves and satellites in the earlier years
unless that was public relations exaggeration. I heard they used AT&T
for their processes and it was costly.

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