AC/DC: The Savage Tale of the First Standards War

Tom McNichol

AC/DC: The Savage Tale of the First Standards War
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AC/DC: The Savage Tale of the First Standards War

Tom McNichol

Long before there was VHS versus Betamax, Windows versus Macintosh, or Blu-Ray versus HDDVD, the first and nastiest standards war was fought over how electricity would be transmitted around the world: alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC). The savage showdown between AC and DC changed the lives of billions of people, shaped the modern technological age, and set the stage for all standards wars to follow.AC/DC tells the little-known story of how Thomas Edison bet wrong in that war, eventually losing control over the “operating system” for his future inventions-not to mention the company he founded, which would later become General Electric. Today’s Digital Age wizards can take lessons from Edison’s fierce battle: control an invention’s technical standard and you control the market.

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