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ICL does not abuse mainframe maintenance

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The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has thrown out a complaint that ICL violated competition laws by stitching up the market for maintaining the mainframe computers it supplies.

Synstar Computer Services, a rival maintenance biz, was aggrieved at its inability to obtain a full diagnostic service on mainframes. It accused ICL was of witholding the information to maintain its dominant position in the market.

The OFT rejected the complaint, largely because it felt that ICL did not have a dominant position in the mainframe market.

Given that most manufacturers have pulled out of the market in recent years, bar IBM (of course), it's hard to fault the watchdog's reasoning. Last year Amdahl, which like ICL is a subsidiary of Fujitsu, decided to pull out of the mainframe hardware supply business.

The OFT dismissed Synstar's argument that hardware maintenance forms a separate market to the mainframe biz. The OFT ruled that mainframe buyers think about maintenance when they buy Big Iron machines. ®

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