After six Nobel Prizes, the invention of the transistor, laser and countless contributions to computer science and technology, it is the end of the road for Bell Labs' fundamental physics research lab.
Alcatel-Lucent, the parent company of Bell Labs, is pulling out of basic science, material physics and semiconductor research and will instead be focusing on more immediately marketable areas such as networking, high-speed electronics, wireless, nanotechnology and software.
The idea is to align the research work in the Lab closer to areas that the parent company is focusing on, says Peter Benedict, spokesperson for Bell Labs and Alcatel-Lucent Ventures.
"In the new innovation model, research needs to keep addressing the need of the mother company," he says.
That view is shortsighted and may drastically curtail the Labs' ability to come up with truly innovative discoveries, respond critics.
This is absolutely horrifying.
This really ought to have a moment of horrified silence associated with it.
I cannot believe that Bell Labs is doing that...