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A United States long-distance telecommunications company. Recently bought from British Telecom
MCI(1) (Media Control Interface) A high-level programming interface from Microsoft and IBM for controlling multimedia devices. It provides commands and functions to open, play and close the device.
(2) (Microwave Communications Inc.) The long distance telephone company that was largely responsible for competitive telephone services in the U.S. It all started in 1963 in Springfield, IL. Jack Goeken and four others formed a company to increase sales of two-way radios by building microwave towers along Route 66 from St. Louis to Chicago for truckers. Bill McGowan, a New York consultant, joined the company in 1968 and helped Goeken acquire leases to build towers nationwide at a time when AT&T controlled virtually all long distance in the U.S.
In 1969, the FCC granted MCI the right to offer long distance services and to hook up to AT&T's network for access to the customer's premises, yet MCI was thwarted at every turn. In 1974, it filed a suit against AT&T, and the Justice Department filed its own suit, all of which led to the breakup of AT&T in 1984 (see Divestiture).
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, MCI raised USD $2.6 billion in capital, offered innovative services and ultimately captured one third of the business market. After McGowan died in 1992, MCI lost its soul and was slower to form novel strategies; however, it did develop one of the best IP networks in the country. In 1997, MCI was acquired by WorldCom for USD $30 billion. Five years later, WorldCom declared bankruptcy, but emerged in 2004 as MCI.
In 2005, MCI was acquired by Verizon Communications, Inc. and became the Verizon business division of the company (www.verizonbusiness.com). See MCI Mail, WorldCom and MCI Decision.