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AT&T Information Systems (ATTIS) was the fully separate subsidiary of AT&T which focused on computer technology ventures and telephone sales, and other unregulated business. It was one of the three core units of AT&T formed after the break up of the Bell System.


For information regarding the American Bell Telephone Company, please see AT&T (1885-2005).

American Bell Advanced Information Systems logo

In 1979 and 1980, the FCC conducted Computer Inquiry I and II, which restricted Western Electric from selling "enhanced services", such as telephone equipment and other unregulated business, except through a fully separated AT&T subsidiary. As a result, American Bell, Inc. was formed, and began operations on January 1, 1983.

Employees at American Bell who worked in AT&T facilities that housed Bell Labs and Western Electric offices often encountered bureaucratic red tape, such as restrictions on using the one library in the same building because it was owned by Bell Labs [1].

American Bell contained two core units:

  • American Bell Consumer Products - sold residential telephones/terminal equipment
  • American Bell Advanced Information Systems - sold business telephone/terminal equipment, such as the American Bell Merlin system

The AT&T Globe logo (the "Death Star") originated for use with American Bell. When Judge Greene banned AT&T from using any Bell marks whatsoever after the breakup, except for usage of the Bell Labs name, AT&T switched over to the Globe logo.



American Bell was renamed AT&T Information Systems on January 1, 1984, and integrated into AT&T Technologies. The business unit, American Bell Advanced Information Systems, was absorbed into AT&T Network Systems, while American Bell Consumer Products, renamed AT&T Consumer Products, became a unit of AT&T Technologies.

AT&T Information Systems held its status as separate from any other AT&T company until 1986, following several FCC decisions which loosened restrictions set before the breakup.

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