Back in the day, Bell Labs was funded by a monopoly with a lot of cash to do pure research. As such, they invented amazing stuff that helped the world. Most of it did not benefit AT&T financially, however.
I have a hard time believing that this model will work anymore within a 'for profit' company. Please, please, please don't take this statment to mean that I am an advocate of 'public' funded research. I just think that Bell Labs will never be returned to its 'Former Status'.
Your are right about the article being long--but it was even longer before editing out in-depth discussions of the other Nobel Prizes Bell Labs has won. I decided to emphasize the Arno/Penzias Nobel Prize not just because its anniversay is today, but because it serves as the model for the reborn Bell Labs--namely, that the Labs plans to sovle big industry problems while keeping an eye out for basic scientific discoveries uncovered along the way. Also, the contest is called the annual Bell Labs Prize, not the FutureX prize. FutureX is not a prize, but the internal roadmap for the reborn Labs--namely to "aim high" by encouraging the exploration of basic science discoveries encountered while working on big industry problems. And by-the-way, thanks for your comment. I always appreciate feedback even if its not exactly flattering :)
Seeing the headline that Bell Labs was coming back was exciting. Then I read the first page of the article where the Arno/Penzias discovery was discussed four different times. And the overall article discussed the FutureX prize several times. This article could have been half the length with the same information or the same length with a more in depth discussion of the lab.