EU launches antitrust probe against IBM

EU launches antitrust probe against IBM

Summary: The European Commission has launched an investigation against IBM over a pair of antitrust allegations; IBM says the claims have no merit.


The European Commission today launched two formal antitrust investigations against IBM Corp. over two alleged infringements of EU antitrust rules about abusing a dominant market position, the commission said in a statement. (PDF)

The first case is in response to complaints by software vendors T3 an Turbo Hercules over the tying of mainframe hardware to the mainframe operating system. The second is an investigation launched by the commission itself over alleged discrimination toward competing suppliers of mainframe maintenance services, the commission said.

IBM said the claims, which the company said were the result of a campaign of competitors led by Microsoft an its "satellite proxies," have no merit, according to a Bloomberg report. In that report, IBM said:

Certain IBM competitors which have been unable to win in the marketplace through investments in fundamental innovations now want regulators to create for them a market position that they have not earned.

The commissions said that the complaints contend that tying the mainframe and OS shuts out providers of emulation technology that would allow critical apps to run on non-IBM hardware. The commission said it also has concerns that IBM is engaging in anticompetitive practices by restricting or delaying access to spare parts that only IBM can provide.

The investigation comes days after IBM unveiled a new hybrid mainframe design that aims to cut data center sprawl and be a bridge to other systems.

Topics: Security, Enterprise Software, Hardware, IBM, Servers

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Wow, HUGE ramifications for Apple!!

    [i]over the tying of mainframe hardware to the mainframe operating system[/i]

    Apple had better hope and pray that IBM wins this one or that Apple [b]never[/b] finds themselves in a situation where a market can be defined such that Apple has a dominant position in that market (like the $1,000+ PC market that Apple has a 95% marketshare ;) ).

    We get told time and time and time again by Apple zealots that you are allowed to tie an OS and hardware together. Well, we are about to find out if they are right or not!

    Mmmm, love the smell of Internet popcorn!
  • RE: EU launches antitrust probe against IBM

    Fairly big ramifications for Microsoft as well. If this establishes a principal that hardware and o/s are separate entities, then providing new pc hardware with a pre-installed o/s could be considered anti-competitive where one o/s provider (guess who) had an overwhelming market share due to contracts tying oems into their o/s.
    • This was already addressed

      [i]due to contracts tying oems into their o/s[/i]

      If MS was caught doing this again, they would be in violation of previous anti-trust rulings. This has no effect on MS since MS is not tying their hardware with their OS which is what this investigation is about.
    • RE: EU launches antitrust probe against IBM


      If microsoft sold computers you'd have a point. OEM's sell computers with their hardware and MS's software, there's no product tying even possible.
    • Not the same thing

      The manufacturers choose to install Windows on their systems because they want to sell a turn-key computer, not because that hardware is tied to Windows in any way.

      These systems could even run OS X, but Apple stops that by tying their OS and hardware together.
      John Zern
  • haha looks like ibm will be the test case for apple.

    Though apple may have an out since their OS will run on most i486+.

    I think the real complaint here comes from VMWare, but i guess MS could have something to do with it.

    I would love to virtualize our AIX system
  • deja vu

    Didn't IBM go through a similar thing 20 or 30 years ago in the US? As I recall, they lost.