EU launches antitrust probe against IBM

The European Commission has launched an investigation against IBM over a pair of antitrust allegations; IBM says the claims have no merit.
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive

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.

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