Sunday, 7 August 2011

IBM’s lawyers can take the day off!

IBM’s dark-suited legal team can relax a little following the news that three organisations have agreed to drop antitrust complaints filed against IBM in Europe and the USA. The companies involved are T3 Technologies, NEON Enterprise Software, and TurboHercules.

Back in October 2009, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) started investigating IBM’s mainframe monopoly following complaints from T3. Back in 2000, T3 launched its tServer low-end mainframe based on the FLEX-ES technology from Fundamental Software Inc (FSI). IBM is saying T3 withdrew its appeal for a ruling in the US courts in May this year. IBM also says T3 has withdrawn its European Commission complaint, alleging antitrust behaviour by IBM.

IBM also says that NEON has dropped its European Commission complaint. This makes sense because in June NEON agreed (in the sense that a person with their arm twisted agrees) to stop reselling and distributing its zPrime product and requested customers to remove and destroy their copies. zPrime was controversial since it first appeared in July 2009 because it allowed mainframe users to run workloads on specialty processors rather than on the main processor. IBM’s revenue stream is based on main processor workloads. So you can see why users would welcome such a product (and the consequent savings they would make) and why IBM would not. As a consequence claims and counter claims flew back and forth between the two companies until the resolution in early June. Since then, NEON’s IMS products have been acquired by BMC.

Finally, TurboHercules has dropped complaints about IBM with the EU. TurboHercules, a French company, was set up in 2009 by Roger Bowler, who created the open source Hercules mainframe hardware emulator. TurboHercules allows mainframe operating systems and applications to run on x64 and Itanium processors running Windows, Linux, Mac OS, or Solaris as the host environment for Hercules. The organisation was part funded by Microsoft (obviously, no lover of mainframe technology).

But it’s not all good news for IBM. It’s still the subject of antitrust probes by the US DoJ and the European Commission. So, those lawyers can’t take off too many days!

And on a completely different topic: don’t forget it’s the Virtual IMS user group meeting on Tuesday with Scott Quillicy, CEO and Founder of SQData talking about IMS replication for high-availability. There are more details at

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