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IBM Businesses The Courts

EU Launches Antitrust Investigation Against IBM 135

FlorianMueller writes "The European Commission announced today that it has launched two parallel antitrust investigations into IBM's mainframe practices, following complaints lodged by T3 Technologies last year and French open source startup TurboHercules in March. EU regulators suspect an abuse of a dominant position and illegal tying of IBM's mainframe hardware to its proprietary mainframe operating system z/OS. There's even the possibility of a third case based on a complaint filed very recently by NEON, and the DoJ is also looking into this matter. IBM now finds itself in a situation previously experienced by Microsoft and Intel. This may also affect IBM's credibility when lobbying in the EU for open standards." Reader coondoggie points out a response from IBM saying that the accusations are being driven by Microsoft and other competitors.
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EU Launches Antitrust Investigation Against IBM

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  • by thetagger ( 1057066 ) on Monday July 26, 2010 @02:39PM (#33034366)

    If IBM can't disallow the use of z/OS under an emulator, does it also mean that Apple can't disallow OS X on Hackintoshes?

  • by ciaran_o_riordan ( 662132 ) on Monday July 26, 2010 @02:46PM (#33034500) Homepage

    Finally, we get to the interesting part of TurboHercules v. IBM:

    There's an antitrust dispute, with TurboHercules saying that IBM is abusing a dominant market position. That's normal. The cool part in this case is that IBM has mentioned that they have a pile of software patents.

    That means that if the European institutions (commission and court of justice) decide that IBM has to allow interoperability, they should also have to decide if IBM can subsequently use their mentioned software patents to block that required interoperability.

    It sounds like a no-brainer. Of course they should be allowed to use patents to negate court-imposed requirements. But it's not a no-brainer: It didn't work in the US, and it didn't work previously in the EU.

  • Re:Imagine that! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Monday July 26, 2010 @03:21PM (#33035112)

    It takes a market position that is at least dominant (IBM is even superdominant on mainframes) AND anticompetitive behavior.

    While I don't care about mainframes, I hope IBM loses this case for the sole reason that it opens the doors for yet another antitrust action against Microsoft for paying retailers to exclude Linux, and against giant retailers who force Windows onto computer purchasers.

  • Re:Imagine that! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Smauler ( 915644 ) on Monday July 26, 2010 @03:40PM (#33035424)

    A monopolistic hardware company can destroy other software companies with lockins... There's not a problem at the moment with Apple, for example, since they do not hold a dominant market share. Laissez faire capitalism does _not_ work, the government has to be on hand to whack down the big corporations every so often. At least, that's the theory.

  • Re:Imagine that! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jgagnon ( 1663075 ) on Monday July 26, 2010 @04:16PM (#33035932)

    Is IBM preventing people from writing/porting an OS for/to their zSeries machines?

    What it boils down to is that people don't want to buy IBM's expensive hardware (which subsidizes their software investment) but still want to buy their software? Did Steve Jobs ever work for IBM?

    But seriously, the sell the hardware with your choice of supported operating systems, some at additional cost. I'm not sure how that supports someone's "right" to run the OS on any hardware platform they choose (via emulation or any other means).

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