The telegraph proved to be a monumental innovation of its time, but it clearly had its limitations and subsequent shelf life. Western Union, the majority leader in telegraph transmissions and revenues, profited nicely from its market dominance but failed at projecting the future of communication in the telephone. For this reason, it is now a company relegated to dealing with money orders and other money transfers. However, Western Union did have the opportunity to seize complete control of communication technology for at least another century when Bell offered his telephone patent for a mere $100,000 and again when it could have seized control of AT&T. Looking back, these oversights opened the door for AT&T to become the powerful telecommunication company it is today with its current extension into cable and internet services.
Companies today have learned from Western Union’s mistakes and turn profits into research for newer technology and expansion into other technology sectors. For example, Apple only sold computers for more than decades but continued their technological growth by releasing the iPod, then iPhone, and now iPad. This pressure to continually get better will lead to newer technology but with a smaller timetable.