Brand immortality

Catching up with films I missed when they first appeared, I have just watched that action-spy thriller of the almost-over Cold War, Little Nikita, which first appeared in 1988.

The story was fairly predictable, and the most exciting moment for me occurred at minute 77, when two of the protagonists, trying to flee San Diego for Mexico, turned a corner on which was located a NYNEX Business Center. These were a nationwide chain of 80 retail computer hardware and services outlets most of which NYNEX bought from IBM in 1986 (according to rumour, after a handshake over an inter-CEO game of golf), and then sold in 1991 to Computerland.    When NYNEX owned them, they comprised the third-largest non-franchise network of retail computer outlets in the US.

One of the seven Baby Bells (aka RBOCs) created by the break up of the Bell System in 1984, NYNEX was the only one to pursue an adult career as an IT services company, at one point earning sufficient revenues from software and related services to be placed in the Top-10 largest US software companies.    For all the synergies, however, telecommunications and software development are sufficiently different businesses, and/or NYNEX senior managers cared insufficiently for these differences, that NYNEX never appeared to take seriously their role as a software company.   Having cured itself of its untypical desire to be a leading software house by re-selling most of its purchases in this sector, NYNEX, a few mergers later, has now become Verizon.

It is nice to think that, in centuries to come, the NYNEX Business Centers brand will live on in the moving pictures.

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