Meet Steve Ballmer, the new David Sarnoff

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, channels the Darth Vader of Communications History, invoking RCA's domination of television starting in the 1930s as a role model for his company's future research:

But there’s a second part of the R.C.A. story that Mr. Ballmer neglected to mention. The company also owed its television dominance to a huge legal campaign against one of the prime inventors of the medium: Philo T. Farnsworth and his company. R.C.A. eventually paid royalties to Mr. Farnsworth, but the long fight enabled R.C.A. to squelch the competition. Microsoft has an experienced legal team and plenty of rivals. Perhaps Mr. Ballmer has learned more from the R.C.A. example than he’s letting on.

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Paul Schatzkin

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