Feeds

Europe greases US probe of IBM mainframe biz

Notes swapped

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

The European Commission is assisting the US in ramming an antitrust probe into IBM's mainframe business - but it's only helping, mind you.

"We are in contact with the DoJ but it's not like there is some sort of joint investigation," an EC spokesman told Reuters Froday.

The US Department of Justice has begun an investigation of IBM's mainframe market tactics, with the giant accused of using its dominant market position to unfairly squeeze out any upstart competition. The investigation was initiated at the prompting of Washington DC-based lobby group, the Computer & Communication Industry Association.

Anti-competition complaints against IBM include withdrawing z/OS licenses from customers who use non-IBM hardware, punishing "disloyal" partners, and purchasing PSI, the mainframe startup that was leading international anti-trust charges against IBM.

European antitrust watchdogs have been watching the market, albeit informally, despite PSI dropping its EC antitrust complaint last July and accepting an undisclosed amount of money to join IBM. Another complaint by t3 Technologies this January has also not yet prompted a full investigation. But the EC is willing to hand off information to where the action is.

IBM, meanwhile, defended it innocence in a statement released Friday. "We continue to believe there is no merit to T3's claims, and that IBM is fully entitled to enforce our intellectual property rights and protect the investments we have made in our technologies," it said.

Last week, a US District Court judge dismissed T3's claims against IBM, saying the company's decision not to license its mainframe technology "does not constitute anticompetitive conduct."

Separately, IBM is urging US lawmakers to stop mucking about and pass patent reform legislation.

The company said it's backing the Patent Reform Act of 2009, which is currently sitting in the US Senate. The bill is designed to help defendants fight infringement allegations and limit damages - which appeals strongly to a major tech firm like IBM that is a frequent target of patent trolls (although it's certainly no stranger for suing over patents itself).

"Technology and the nature of innovation have changed dramatically over the last half-century, but our patent laws have not been significantly updated," stated Robert Weber, general counsel for IBM.

Big Blue said the current bill strikes a "careful balance" among the varied users of the US patent system. "The debate over patent reform has been both lengthy and constructive, but now it is time to act," stated Weber.

IBM is consistently each year awarded the most patents of any company in the US, by the US Patent and Trademark Office. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis
And goes to the Genius Bar for support
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Microsoft says 'weird things' can happen during Windows Server 2003 migrations
Fix coming for bug that makes Kerberos croak when you run two domain controllers
Cisco says network virtualisation won't pay off everywhere
Another sign of strain in the Borg/VMware relationship?
Forrester says Australia, not China, is next boom market for cloud
It's cloudy but fine down under, analyst says
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.