In Box – Give Marconi His Due

Posted: 04/2001

In Box

Give Marconi His Due

In point of fact, Marconi invented the wireless telegraph (January PHONE+,
Intellectual Capital. Although it was the first digital wireless system (binary
dot-dash code), and a remarkable development, it was not what we call radio;
Fessenden, deForest, Armstrong, and others built on Marconi’s work, using first
amplitude, then frequency modulation to transmit audible voice signals.

John S. Bain, CFA
Hoak Breedlove Wesneski & Co.

Give Bell Labs Its Due

In your article on Martin Cooper (January PHONE+, Intellectual Capital), you
state that he invented the cellular phone in 1973. The cellular phone was
invented at Bell Labs in the ’60s. Oki had the first operational prototype,
which pretty much filled the trunk of a car. Motorola was a bit of a Johny-Come-Lately
in the business. The "Father of Cellular" title belongs to a team of
engineers at Bell Labs.

If Mr. Cooper is responsible for Moto’s famous "Brick Phone,"
that’s a commendable accomplishment. That sucker just wouldn’t break. Sales
folks often demonstrated its reliability by throwing it across the room, or
dropping it from head high on concrete. In fact, they gave us quite a problem at
AirTouch when we brought in CDMA. One production model (the D series, if memory
serves me correctly) could not decode the "Extended Protocol" bit in
the overhead data stream of the control channel. When this bit was set high, (as
it had to be to provide CDMA service) these phones locked up. We had a dickens
of a time getting customers to let go of them. They had already been
discontinued, so Moto was (understandably) not willing to rewrite the firmware
for a few thousand discontinued phones. So, we had to get the customers to
"upgrade" to new phones so we could turn on CDMA. But a few hundred of
them were not willing to give up their bricks. They knew they had a good thing!

Mark G. van der Hoek
WFI Inc.

Mapping an End Around Long Distance

I really appreciated your article on unified messaging, to the point that I
am becoming a Master Agent for Webley Systems Inc. I think this is the
end–around declining long- distance rates.

Bill Stevens
Managing Director
Mayfair Group (master agency)
Oak Park, IL

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