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Compuware calls IBM a 'killer'

Mainframe spat turns nasty

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Compuware's day in court has at last arrived, and the company's lawyers have not held back in their attacks against IBM.

Compuware has charged IBM with nothing less than trying to kill the company by blocking sales of its mainframe software. IBM copied Compuware's mainframe management and testing applications and then used its monopoly position in the market to promote its own code, according to Compuware. In response, IBM says it competed fairly and helped lower the price of mainframe software.

The trial between the two vendors kicked off this week in Michigan. Compuware originally sued IBM in March of 2002. It is seeking hundreds of millions in damages from IBM.

"This case is real simple. This is about theft of technology worth millions and millions of dollars," Compuware lawyer Daniel Johnson told the jury, according to media reports. "This is about IBM, one of the largest companies in the world, going out and embarking on a plan - not an accident - a plan to kill Compuware."

Johnson, a lawyer for Silicon Valley powerhouse Fenwick and West LLP, argued that IBM recruited former Compuware staffers who revealed trade secrets about the File-AID and Abend-AID products, the Detroit Free Press reports. IBM would go on to create similar products and then sometimes give them away as part of larger hardware sales, the lawyer said. These Compuware products accounted for a huge portion of the company's revenue.

IBM's attorneys dismissed these claims, saying the company used decades old, in-house technology to develop its own software. Big Blue put out File Manager and Fault Analyzer, which made the mainframe software market more competitive and improved the quality of both IBM and Compuware products, IBM said.

More on the case here. ®

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