Mainframe Propeller Head

Mar 17 2010   4:51PM GMT

Neon, IBM wrangle over trial timeline for zPrime lawsuit

Matt Stansberry Matt Stansberry Profile: Matt Stansberry

According to Chris Reynolds, lead trial counsel for Neon Enterprise Software, IBM and Neon will either agree on a trial schedule, or file competing schedule proposals to U.S. Senior District Judge James Nowlin by March 28th.

Neon filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Austin, Texas in December 2009, claiming unfair competition and intimidation of prospective clients by IBM.

The lawsuit stems from Neon’s zPrime software, which allows users to offload workloads from the mainframe’s central processors to specialty mainframe processors. This in itself isn’t unusual, but what zPrime does is allow users to offload more work to these specialty processors than IBM intended.

IBM started warning customers that zPrime could cause mainframers to violate software agreements they had with IBM. In its lawsuit, Neon claims that IBM’s unlawful actions could cost potential Neon customers more than $1 billion in software licensing fees.

Neon is eager to get its day in court with IBM, Reynolds said. “Our goal is to get the case to a final decision and trial in Austin by early next year. IBM doesn’t want the case to come to trial until 2012.”

Reynolds said IBM is stalling because of its deep pockets. “IBM is better positioned to stand an ongoing war,” Reynolds said. “My concern with such an extended schedule is that as long as the litigation pending, IBM can tell customers to wait and see how the litigation pans out. It wants to postpone that day of reckoning.”

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