Wed, Jan 21, 2009 - Page 11 News List

Mainframe maker T3 accuses IBM of antitrust violation

BLOOMBERG

IBM will face accusations for a second time that it is abusing its market dominance in mainframe computers to shut out rival products in violation of EU antitrust rules.

T3 Technologies Inc said in a statement that it would file a complaint yesterday with the European Commission, the EU’s antitrust authority in Brussels, over claims IBM prevents the sale of competing mainframe hardware products by tying the sale of its operating system to its mainframe hardware.

T3 also claims that IBM withholds “patent licenses and certain intellectual property to the detriment of mainframe customers.”

“Through its focused action against mainframe competitors, IBM now has an exclusive lock on the mainframe market,” T3 said in the statement.

IBM, the world’s biggest computer-services company, last July acquired a mainframe maker that had raised similar complaints. IBM, based in Armonk, New York, and Platform Solution Inc had sued each other in the US over related intellectual property and antitrust issues.

Tampa, Florida-based T3 resold and distributed Platform Solutions’ product. T3, which had joined Platform Solutions in its legal action against IBM, decided to pursue the claim on its own and on other companies’ behalf, including IBM customers, after the settlement.

Privately held T3, which sold IBM mainframes between 1992 and 2002, said it hoped the commission would probe IBM’s “above-market prices for its mainframe monopoly and its actions to eliminate competition.”

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