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Wednesday, 21 September 2011 10:14

IBM offers olive branch in anti-trust case

Written by Nick Farell


Concessions
Biggish Blue is offering EU regulators an olive branch in a bit to stop an anti-trust probe. The EU is looking at IBM's policies after complaints that it does not allow competitors to provide maintenance services for its mainframe computers.

The European Commission opened two investigations into whether IBM was abusing its dominant position in the market for mainframe computers in July 2010. Big Blue makes shedloads of dosh from its maintenance contracts so the prospect of having rivals offering to services its computers for less hurts a bit.

According to IBN live a second investigation is looking at whether IBM was unfairly tying its mainframe hardware with its operating system. Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia commended IBM's readiness to address our concerns about fair competition in the market for large computers which are crucial for the functioning of today's economy.

It might have had little choice. The Commission stold IBM in August that its preliminary assessment showed that IBM "may have imposed unreasonable conditions for supplying competing mainframe maintenance service providers."

IBM said that while it did not agree with the ruling it was  offering the concessions to the EU and competitors. Biggish Blue is going to make spare parts and technical information more easily available to other mainframe maintainers over the next five years. The Commission is now asking IBM's competitors and customers to comment on the commitments to decide whether they have done enough. Big Blue will be happy that the probe is being closed.

Nick Farell

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