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Chapter 7 - Data Communications: Market Order 1973-1979

7.13 In Perspective

By 1979, the engine of entrepreneurship set in motion in 1968-1969, and instantiated in successful firms such as Codex, Milgo, Infotron, General DataComm, Timeplex, Paradyne, Micom, and Intertel, no longer needed favorable court decisions in the bogged down antitrust lawsuits against AT&T and IBM to craft successful futures. Sure it would help if the two wounded, but far from dangerous, behemoths would slug it out with each other and ignore the profitable patches of product opportunities in data communications thought too small or fast moving to be of interest. But the fact was, the leading data communication firms had, or would soon have, enough financial muscle of their own to survive and prosper. They had anticipated the future and it was now theirs to reel in. (See Appendix 6.1.)

Even as the firms of data communication were speeding the efficient transfer of bits of data at ever declining prices, another whole community of innovators was transforming the ARPANET into a functioning network and beginning to explore how to both improve and diffuse this new technology of communicating packets not bits. The exposition of packet technology would take paths of originality that by 1979 would set off a new explosion of entrepreneurship that would run directly into the future being carved out by the firms in data communications. But first to the story of how the diffusion of packet switching led to local area networking.