Feeds

Europe greases US probe of IBM mainframe biz

Notes swapped

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Death by 1,000 cuts: Mainstream storage array suppliers are bleeding
Cloud, all-flash kit, object storage slicing away at titans of storage
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
VMware vaporises vCHS hybrid cloud service
AnD yEt mOre cRazy cAps to dEal wIth
El Reg's virtualisation desk pulls out the VMworld crystal ball
MARVIN musings and other Gelsinger Gang guessing games
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.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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?