The dose of reality that hit HP has completely overshadowed the final implosion of AT&T. T's demise has been obvious for years and the final end turned out to be something of a non-event.
CEOs and high level managers are heavily rewarded and take no risk - it is too bad they don't share in the fallout from their mistakes, but we have a welfare state for the hyperwealthy and powerful. If they had to deal with risk, perhaps they would listen to people who had a handle on the future rather than the standard big consulting companies who were predicting a DOW of 36,000 and $200 monthly entertainment bills.
It is interesting to note that groups of technologists within AT&T were accurately forecasting the future. A few groups formed to deal with new developments and even attempted to influence the decision makers. Probably the most interesting was ODD *- I wasn't directly associated with it, but know most of its former members.
A friend who happens to be one of the ODDsters, Amy Muller, co-authored a brief history on the group and AT&T's strategic failure. (pdf) read it
This is both a cautionary tale as well as one of hope. Companies have incredible internal resources that can and should be tapped. It is much cheaper and probably better than relying on clueless and expensive CEOs, corporate fiefdoms and echo chamber consulting companies.
* I'm not defining it on purpose so your curiosity lures you to the paper.