IBM offers concession in EU antitrust case

Sep 20, 2011 By GABRIELE STEINHAUSER , AP Business Writer

(AP) -- U.S. computer maker IBM Corp. on Tuesday offered to make it easier for competitors to provide maintenance services for its mainframe computers, a concession to get European regulators to close an antitrust probe.

The European Commission, the European Union's , opened two investigations into whether IBM was abusing its in the market for mainframe computers in July 2010. One of the probes focused on the company's profitable maintenance services.

A second investigation, which the Commission closed Tuesday, was examining whether IBM was unfairly tying its mainframe hardware with its operating system.

Mainframes are that are used mostly by big companies and governments.

"I commend 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," Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.

The Commission said it informed IBM in August that its preliminary assessment showed that IBM "may have imposed unreasonable conditions for supplying competing mainframe maintenance service providers."

IBM, according to a notice published in the EU's official journal, said it was offering the concessions to the EU and competitors even though it didn't agree with the Commission's initial assessment of a potential abuse of dominance.

The concessions include a commitment by IBM to make spare parts and technical information more easily available to other mainframe maintainers over the next five years.

In a statement, IBM said it welcomed the decision to close the second investigation and "the proposed resolution of the Commission's investigation of certain IBM mainframe maintenance practices."

The Commission is now asking IBM's competitors and customers to comment on the commitments to decide whether they are sufficient.

Mainframe sales make up a small portion of IBM's revenue, but the company has been making a lot of money selling software and services linked to the hardware it produces.

The closing of the probe into whether IBM was unlawfully tying its mainframe hardware with its operating system will come as a relief to the 100-year-old company. That investigation was triggered by complaints from emulator software vendors T3 and Turbo Hercules, which were later joined by Neon Enterprise Software.

The Commission said Tuesday that it closed that case following an in-depth investigation and that the complaints had been withdrawn.

Explore further: Turner channels removed from Dish amid pact spat

5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Justice Dept probing IBM's computer market conduct

Oct 08, 2009

(AP) -- The Justice Department is looking into allegations that IBM Corp. has abused its dominant position in the market for mainframe computers, the data-crunching heavy lifters of the computing world that ...

IBM Mainframes Go 3-D

Apr 27, 2007

By integrating its Cell processors with the mainframe, the company hopes to create virtual worlds on the Web that benefit gamers as well as the enterprise.

IBM's net tops Street; outsourcing deals pick up

Jan 18, 2011

(AP) -- IBM Corp.'s better-than-expected fourth quarter profit shows the momentum from a new mainframe computer and a pickup in businesses' interest in outsourcing their information technology chores.

IBM Rolls Out New Mainframe

Feb 26, 2008

IBM today announced the System z10 mainframe to help clients create a new enterprise data center. The system z10 is designed from the ground up to help dramatically increase data center efficiency by significantly improving ...

Recommended for you

Turner channels removed from Dish amid pact spat

2 hours ago

Channels such as Cartoon Network and CNN are no longer part of Dish's programming lineup as a deadline has passed for the satellite TV provider and Turner Broadcasting to renew their distribution agreement.

Verizon reports higher 3Q net income, revenue

3 hours ago

Verizon Communications Inc. on Tuesday reported higher net income and revenue in its third quarter, helped by strong wireless subscriber growth and demand for its high-speed FiOS Internet services.

Amazon, Simon & Schuster sign book retail deal

11 hours ago

Amazon has reached a deal with American book publisher Simon & Schuster, the companies said, though the e-commerce giant remains at loggerheads with France's Hachette over e-book pricing.

User comments : 0