Feeds

EU still greasing IBM antitrust probe despite PSI withdrawal

'Your complaint stands'

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO
Time to put the storage biz up for sale?
'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
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
CAGE MATCH: Microsoft, Dell open co-located bit barns in Oz
Whole new species of XaaS spawning in the antipodes
VMware's tool to harden virtual networks: a spreadsheet
NSX security guide lands in intriguing format
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 and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.