Feeds

EU still greasing IBM antitrust probe despite PSI withdrawal

'Your complaint stands'

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

IBM may have corked the wails of antitrust outrage coming from the diminutive mainframe vendor Platform Solutions (PSI) by purchasing the upstart, but the European regulator genie has already slipped out the bottle.

The rival firm's legal fight in both the US and Europe over Big Blue's mainframe monopoly came to an abrupt close yesterday when it accepted an undisclosed sum of money to sell out to its massive adversary. As part of the acquisition, PSI dropped all antitrust complaints. IBM was equally obliged to toss away a copyright infringement lawsuit against PSI for doing business selling servers that run IBM mainframe software on non-IBM hardware.

The European Commission, however, doesn't share the let-bygones-be- bygones attitude on the matter.

"PSI withdrew their complaint yesterday morning, but the Commission is continuing to look at competition in the market concerned," said an EC spokeswoman to El Reg.

The look shouldn't take long. The only mainframe firm of note left standing is T3 Technologies. And the firm announced Tuesday — a day ahead of when the acquisition of PSI was announced — that it plans to lodge a formal antitrust complaint with the EC for good measure. It's safe to assume T3's preemptive action comes from its close relationship with PSI rather than foresight. As El Reg has noted, PSI is friendly enough to write press releases for T3.

IBM spokesman Fred McNeese said the company has no comment regarding the continued EC scrutiny and T3's threat of filing a new complaint.

Big metal fallout

So does the purchase of PSI — a mere blip on the radar when compared with the mainframe armada that is IBM — really make a difference?

"This is a black hole acquisition," said Computer & Communications Industry Association president Ed Black in a statement. "It sucks the life out of the market and destroys the matter. It is transforming a market with latent potential for competition and innovation into a sector with little prospects for anything but complete domination of IBM."

Mainframe analyst Phile Payne disagrees on the significance of PSI as true competition to Big Blue.

"Simply (and it's VERY simple), the PSI business model didn't fly. Not viable. Irritation value only. The company could never have made a profit — there simply isn't enough margin in the (scarce) mainframe deals," he said.

The best solution would have been for PSI to be acquired by Hewlett-Packard, according to Payne. That was in fact a possibility for PSI, but when IBM first filed its patent infringement lawsuit against the company, HP turned tail and scooted from the bargaining table.

Meanwhile, IBM says snatching up one of its last mainframe competitors shouldn't raise antitrust red flags because there are alternatives to big metal.

"We believe there is plenty of competition to the mainframe in various other platforms," said McNeese.

In other words, voyage elsewhere mainframe vendor hopefuls. Here be dragons. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster
6TB of DRAM, 38TB of SSD flash and 120TB of disk storage
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Oracle hires former SAP exec for cloudy push
'We know Larry said cloud was gibberish, and insane, and idiotic, but...'
Symantec backs out of Backup Exec: Plans to can appliance in Jan
Will still provide support to existing customers
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.