Mainframe Propeller Head

Jul 28 2010   4:16PM GMT

European Commission probes IBM’s mainframe practices

Ryan Arsenault Ryan Arsenault Profile: Ryan Arsenault

In the latest chapter of the IBM is a big bully campaign (previous ongoing suits include Neon’s), the European Commission (EU) officially launched two investigations into complaints filed by T3 Technologies and TurboHercules last year and March, respectively, against IBM, that allege discriminatory mainframe practices. 

On Monday, the first investigation of the EU announcement was in regard to complaints to the EU from T3 and TurboHercules that allege IBM is unfairly tying its mainframe hardware products to z/OS.  Another investigation in the announcement stems from EU’s own plans to look into alleged discriminatory behavior on IBM’s part to competing mainframe suppliers.

With its statement, IBM is staunch in its denial of any silencing of the competition.  “IBM is fully entitled to enforce its intellectual property rights and protect the investments we have made in our technologies,” said the company. “Competition and intellectual property laws are complementary and designed to promote competition and innovation, and IBM fully supports these policies. But IBM will not allow the fruits of its innovation and investment to be pirated by its competition through baseless allegations.”

It certainly is interesting, though, that there are no specific details in the statement of what exactly they’re trying to protect, and what the “intellectual property rights” actually are, along with how they’ve violated those laws.  Vague statements sometimes allow people to fill in the blanks and question a company’s real motives.  Put Florian Mueller, a software developer and government affairs professional, into that category.

“I’m convinced that customers are locked in and milked shamelessly by IBM,” said Mueller in a blog post that he shared with  “I hope that the outcome of the process will result in more customer choice.”

What do you think of IBM’s case?  Is they trying to “enforce their intellectual property rights,” or are they trying to make it impossible for others to penetrate the mainframe market?

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