If you lived in Chicago in 1981, your phone company would have been AT&T, as was everybody’s. Then the government broke up the monopoly, and it would have been Illinois Bell, then Ameritech, then SBC. Now it’ll be AT&T again.
In New York, after AT&T dissolved, you would have become a New York Telephone customer, then NYNEX, then Bell Atlantic, then Verizon. It’ll still be Verizon, but MCI will now be part of that. You know, MCI — formerly WorldCom.
Pacific Bell Park opened in San Francisco in 2000, the new home of the San Francisco Giants. I thought it was pretty decent as far as corporate names go — at least it had “Pacific” in it, and the stadium was situated right on the Pacific Ocean. But then the Pac became SBC Park. I can only assume it will now be AT&T Park, which is slightly better than SBC Park, but nowhere near as good as Pac Bell, and much worse still than something non-corporate that won’t change twice in five years.
Had a bank account with Manufacturers Hanover in the mid-’80s? You got shunted off to Chemical, then to Chase. When I went to college in 1995, the school gave me an account with Northern Trust, which became NBD, which became First Chicago, which became Bank One, which is now — you guessed it — also Chase. I closed my account while it was still First Chicago, but if I had stayed, I would have been a customer of an astounding five companies in 10 years. That’s one merger every two years.
There’s something wrong about all of this, but we’re living in monopoly-friendly times. At least the world will finally be rid of the SBC logo, which I think is hideous.