IBM in the dock as EC investigates mainframe market


IBM in the dock as EC investigates mainframe market

Microscope contributor

The European Commission has confirmed it will launch formal several anti-trust investigations against IBM following complaints that it abused its position in the mainframe market.

This is not the first time the spotlight has been placed on IBM's activities in the big iron space following allegations made by small player Platform Solutions, which was then swallowed up by the corporate leviathan.

The EC said the first complaint from emulator software vendors T3 and TurboHercules centred on Big Blue's alleged tying of mainframe hardware to its OS.

"The complaints contend that the tying shuts out providers of emulation technology which could enable the users to run critical applications on non-IBM hardware," said the EC in a statement.

However, the EC said it also intends to look into IBM's potentially illegal behaviour in shutting out mainframe maintenance service providers.

"The Commission has concerns that IBM may have engaged in anti-competitive practises with a view to foreclosing the market for maintenance services, in particular by restricting or delaying access to spare parts for which IBM is the only source," it added.

In a statement send to MicroScope, IBM said it would fully co-operate with the regulators but denied any wrong doing and accused Microsoft of driving the allegations made by TurboHercules and T3.

"[Microsoft wants] to further cement the dominance of Wintel servers by attempting to mimic aspects of IBM mainframes without making the substantial investments IBM has doing so, they are violating IBM IP rights.

"There is no merit to the claims being made by Microsoft and its satellite proxies...IBM will not allow the fruits of its innovation and investment to be pirated by its competition through baseless allegations," it added. 

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