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Mainframe hopeful PSI sends lawyers at IBM in Europe

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Platform Solutions Inc. (PSI) has opened up a European front in its war against IBM.

The start-up, which makes Itanium-based servers capable of running mainframe software, has lobbed a complaint at the European Commission, charging IBM with abusing a mainframe monopoly, according to media reports. The complaint was apparently filed in late October.

"Platform Solutions alleges IBM violated an EC prohibition on abuse of market dominance by refusing to supply interface information relating to mainframe computers and refusing to license third parties," commission spokesman Jonathan Todd told Reuters in a statement.

We asked PSI for a copy of the complaint and were told, "It's very early in the process and we need to let the Commission complete its review of our complaint. Beyond that we are not prepared to make any additional comments at the present time."

The gripes lodged with the EC resemble those PSI has filed stateside. The company argues that IBM is trying to keep it out of the mainframe market by refusing to support customers running their software on PSI's systems.

IBM has sued PSI in the US as well, charging it with patent infringement and sullying the mainframe's good name. Big Blue intends to inform the EC of these alleged patent infringements in a response to PSI's claims.

PSI maintains that IBM's lawsuit killed a very lucrative acquisition offer from HP.

T3 Technologies, another mainframe player, recently said that it wants in on PSI's lawsuit against IBM in the states. Meanwhile, mainframe reseller QSGI has said that "a leading OEM" is forcing it out of the mainframe market.

PSI claims to offer lower-end mainframe customers a price and performance edge by running IBM's z/OS mainframe operating system on servers from HP and NEC that use Intel's Itanium processor. Last month, Microsoft joined a $37m funding round for PSI. ®

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