EU launches two anti-trust probes against IBM

21:41, July 26, 2010      

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The European Commission on Monday launched two anti-trust probes against IBM for suspected abuse of its dominant position in the market of mainframe computers.

The commission said the first case followed complaints by emulator software vendors T3 and Turbo Hercules, and focused on IBM's alleged tying of mainframe hardware to its mainframe operating system.

The second investigation was on the commission's own initiative. It is about IBM's alleged discriminatory behavior toward competing suppliers of mainframe maintenance services.

Mainframes are powerful computers which are used by large companies and government institutions worldwide to store and process critical business information.

IBM is alleged to have engaged in illegal tying of its mainframe hardware products to its dominant mainframe operating system. 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.

In addition, the commission has concerns that IBM may have engaged in anti-competition practices 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.

The commission said it would investigate the cases as a matter of priority. But the initiation of proceedings does not imply that it has proof of infringements.

It is estimated that the vast majority of corporate data worldwide resides on mainframes. In 2009 about 8.5 billion euros (11 billion U.S. dollars) worldwide and 3 billion euros (3.9 billion dollars) in Europe were spent on new mainframe hardware and operating systems.

Source: Xinhua


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