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AT&T Is a Bunch of Lying Killjoys!

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Like many young adults in their early teens, I was angry. Angry at teachers, angry at arbitrary rules, angry at restrictions, angry at the unrelenting hypocrisy of the world. But near the top of my list, I was angry at broken promises.

In February 1993, I turned 13 years old. The web was in its absolute infancy, and I was relying on CompuServe and AOL for my access. Computers were glitchy and slow, programmers and designers were still hashing out plans, and yet Silicon Valley, Madison Avenue, and Tinsel Town were all dreaming big. The Internet Age was theoretically upon us and there was certainly no reason to curb outlandish theories of what the next year will bring.

Taking a cue from Hollywood -- which was beginning to churn out countless techno-thrillers with virtually no credence to fact or reality -- AT&T released an ad campaign that year which promised amazing new products and services. Not only did it assure viewers these products were just around the corner, AT&T was going to be the one to deliver it to us.

I despised these ads. As I said, I was 13 years old. But even then, with a cursory knowledge of tech and what the web could actually do at that point, I knew it was all a load of crap. AT&T wasn't about to bring such lofty promises to fruition in the near future. And certainly not with such flare.

And here we are, 18 years later, now armed with a scorecard assessing how many things AT&T actually pulled off -- courtesy of Urlesque's Nick Douglas.

AT&T Chart of "You Will" Ads - Courtesy of Urlesque.

As you can see, AT&T was responsible for introducing one such technology to us. As for the rest, it either eventually got around to developing a product after its conceptual introduction or it just plain didn't bother trying. Now that sounds like the last place cellular network we've all come to know.

Maybe next time, it won't tease a 13-year-old with the promise of on-demand television a decade before true viability.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.