The wireless industry today bears little resemblance to that which first emerged more than 25 years ago. But one thing that has remained constant is the need for wireless companies to make bold and provocative decisions--often in the guise of enlarging their market share, eliminating their competition or simply future-proofing their services or products. These unexpected moves often surprise even the most astute industry watchers and spark debate among the entire industry. These decisions have ripple effects on other industries as well.
It's too soon to say whether AT&T's (NYSE:T) proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA or Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) planned $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) will turn out to be brilliant or bone-headed moves. Whatever you think of those deals, they have already shaken up the industry and sparked discussions over the future of other companies.
That's what the boldest moves in the industry do--they upset the established order, potentially outgun competitors and generally cause a bit of heartburn. These decisions challenge established conventions about the way wireless companies operate, project bold marketing claims, try to take a first-mover advantage and, sometimes, can come to define the companies that make them.
With those recent deals as a backdrop, FierceWireless editors looked at some of the more interesting moves in the wireless industry. Here are our picks for the top 10 most controversial (and brilliant!) wireless decisions of the past decade. Please let us know what you think in the comments. --Phil
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