MCI, Ma Bell Cat Fight Continues


It should come as no surprise to anyone that MCI and AT&T loathe each other. Infact, had it not been for MCI, we would be living in a world where AT&T would still be around, and we all be using ISDN. Maybe. Of course, the phone calls to India still would have cost $1.00 a minute. But it was the battle between MCI and AT&T, further exacerbated by executives like Joe Nacchio (who figured give people $100 for resigning with AT&T from MCI was cheaper than luring them over using marketing tactics.) Not that AT&T helped itself much – it gave political dollars to all the wrong people. Anyway even though the two companies are as done as an over-charred steak, they still continue to take swipes at each other. Take for example today – MCI bought a San Francisco-based company called Totality, which is a bit of an application hosting expert.

MCI, which is in a bit of pickle itself these days, is looking to get some enterprise hosting pizzaz. Of course these are the same folks who bought Digex. Anyway Totality’s biggest partner-in-arms is none other than AT&T, which accounts for, according to my sources, a large percentage of Totality’s business. Now Ma Bell is no guru when it comes to managed application hosting, and perhaps that’s why picking Totality as a partner made sense. If MCI buys Totality, AT&T has to go out and find a new partner. Otherwise it is paying to its bitter rival. That doesn’t make sense. MCI on the other hand, will be looking at flight of customers, when the dust settles. I wonder who comes out on the losing side. And as I said, meow!


Jesse Kopelman

Well, even when AT&T Wireless was just a division of AT&T most backhaul was being bought from the Bells (who owned competing wireless brands), because they were pretty much the only game in town. So, this type of thing isn’t that uncommon.

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