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EC resolves antitrust probe into IBM mainframe biz

Big Blue to play nicely on big iron in binding agreement

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IBM rivals now have a better chance of competing with the tech giant in the mainframe market, after the European Commission got Big Blue to loosen its grip on the business.

In a legally binding agreement, IBM will make spare parts and technical information "swiftly available".

It will do this, the EC added, under commercially reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. The move should allow independent mainframe maintainers that operate within the European Union to get their hands on more powerful computer kit.

"I am pleased that we could find a swift solution with IBM to our competition concerns. Timely interventions are crucial in fast moving technology markets," said competition policy Commissioner veep Joaquín Almunia.

The Commission said it was "satisfied" with IBM's commitments to improve its conditions for supplying its rivals in the mainframe maintenance services market.

Big Blue ought to be happy with the outcome of the EC investigation, given that it reached no conclusion on whether an antitrust infringement had occurred.

Indeed, the company said it was "pleased" that the Brussels' investigation had now been put to bed. ®

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