Interesting example and question. It provoked a lot of thought and I'm glad you took the time to post it. In dissecting your closing question I do agree we need to make money serve us and not the other way around. However, I can't seriously take the position that money is merely a technology, like, say paper or telephones. Money is also a representation of wealth and as such, is tightly tied to culture and motive, both good and bad. In your perverse incentives example, I would envision AT&T's suppression internet technology as helping AT&T only in the short-term, but short-changing AT&T's technology position in the long term. The manager(s) or organizations that decide to suppress a useful technology ultimately harm the firm's natural advantage. (I'm ignoring the complexities of a company's ability to bring a technology to market. AT&T was arguably in a natural position to lead and do well with it. ) I see the *real* perverseness as not one of capitalism, but as the focus on short-term protectionism over the creation of long-term value. AT&T had a long history of thinking in terms of government-enforced monopolies, which generally is a bad idea for both consumers and shareholders in the long-term.
It's a bit like the issue of race in hiring. A manager that decides to ignore better talent with racial characteristics he doesn't like, is ultimately self-punishing because he brings inferior talent to bear on a problem or operation. Likewise, a manager that ignores a better network technology to preserve existing central office routing technology invites better/faster/cheaper competition while squandering the natural value of AT&T's R&D and pre-existing customer base.
To stay relevant long-term, It's generally better to direct, control and profit off a new technology than suppress it to preserve your old technology. As an example, look at intel, it's constantly developing designs that compete with itself. AMD actually seems to help intel by keeping intel paranoid and focused.
I really did appreciate the question and the thought experiments it triggered.