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Compuware launches antitrust suit against IBM

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Compuware Corp has filed a federal lawsuit against IBM Corp alleging that Big Blue has copied Compuware's software testing tools source code and used monopoly power in the mainframe market to compete unfairly in mainframe software tools,

writes Matthew Aslett.

The lawsuit, filed by Farmington Hills, Michigan-based Compuware in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, further alleges that Armonk, New York-based IBM has violated the Sherman Antitrust Act by tying the purchase of software tools to certain software products, and by using IBM Global Services organization to push IBM products.

"We have been considering this distressing issue for quite some time and regrettably concluded that Compuware was required to take this action in order to protect the interests of the company, its customers, and its shareholders," commented Compuware's president, Joseph Nathan in a statement. "IBM has attempted to enter the mainframe software tools market and compete with independent software vendors by misappropriating Compuware's source code and even copying our user manual."

As we went to press, IBM had yet to respond to the lawsuit, other than to say that it did not comment on litigation.

Specifically, the suit alleges that IBM used portions of Compuware's source code within its new File Manager 2.0 and Fault Analyzer products. Compuware claims that the IBM products contain not only features that are similar to Compuware's File-AID and Abend-AID products, but also similar limitations and bugs, indicating that the source code was copied. Compuware further alleges that IBM's File Manager user manuals contain passages that are "nearly verbatim copies of Compuware manuals".

When it comes to the anticompetitive claims, Compuware alleges that IBM has withheld technical information regarding its operating systems, utilities software, DB2 database and CICS middleware, which were previously made available to ISVs. It has also produced portions of an IBM email that suggests this is directly related to IBM's release of competitive products.

It is also alleged that IBM has tied the sale of software and compilers for COBOL, C/C++ and PL/I with sales of its Debug Tool, and is using IBM Global Services to steer client purchases away from competitors and towards IBM's software. Compuware states that IBM's actions only commenced in 1999, once IBM started selling products that compete with Compuware's own mainframe testing tools.

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