Baxter did not have a clearance when it arrived; yet even after it was uncovered, the communique had little influence on Baxter, who was confident that pursuing the breakup was the right course.
The trial spawned activity on Capitol Hill as well. Gene Kimmelman described the extensive lobbying efforts on behalf of AT&T and how they affected debate in the Senate and the House.
Interestingly, as Kimmelman pointed out, the drive to break up the company was not a populist campaign, as consumers were overall not unhappy with the status quo. Given the uncertainty of these efforts, the company eventually pushed to settle the case.
Trienens suggested that Judge Greene’s handling of the trial was one of the most influential factors that led AT&T to negotiate; convinced that it would lose at trial, the AT&T Board ultimately agreed that a consent decree was the best alternative for the company.
Michael Kellogg described how the industry has evolved since the breakup and the difficulties that plagued the companies and regulators prior to the passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The general consensus of the panel was that overall, the market has benefitted from the breakup, and the problems that the Defense Department and others predicted might result have not been realized.
Chief Judge Greene is unfortunately no longer here to add his thoughts, but thanks to the Society’s Oral History Project, he left us with these words on the case: “I’m perfectly content with my own view that the breakup was a good thing. It brought competition into a field where there hadn’t been any competition, and that’s the American way.”
Hear those words for yourself in Judge Greene’s unique voice by visiting his Oral History page on the Society’s website and selecting the sound clip “Reflections on the AT&T Case.” You may also wish to review the transcript of his oral history on our website.