IBM stated it intends to cooperate fully with any inquiries from the European Union. "But let there be no confusion whatsoever: there is no merit to the claims being made by Microsoft and its satellite proxies. IBM is fully entitled to enforce its intellectual property rights and protect the investments we have made in our technologies. Competition and intellectual property laws are complementary and designed to promote competition and innovation, and IBM fully supports these policies. But IBM will not allow the fruits of its innovation and investment to be pirated by its competition through baseless allegations."
"Certain IBM competitors who 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 accusations made against IBM by Turbo Hercules and T3 are being driven by some of IBM's largest competitors -- led by Microsoft -- who want to further cement the dominance of Wintel servers by attempting to mimic aspects of IBM mainframes without making the substantial investments IBM has made and continues to make. In doing so, they are violating IBM's intellectual property rights, "IBM stated.
The EU is Europe's antitrust investigator and said it has started two investigations against IBM. One based on complaints from emulator software vendors T3 and Turbo Hercules that IBM is tying its mainframe hardware to its own operating system. The EU is also looking into IBM's alleged discriminatory behavior toward competing suppliers of mainframe maintenance services.
"IBM is alleged to have engaged in illegal tying of its mainframe hardware products to its dominant mainframe operating system. The complaints contend that the tying shuts out providers of emulation technology which could enable the users to run critical applications on non-IBM hardware. In addition, the Commission has concerns that IBM may have engaged in anti-competitive practices with a view to foreclosing the market for maintenance services (i.e. keeping potential competitors out of the market), in particular by restricting or delaying access to spare parts for which IBM is the only source. The initiation of proceedings does not imply that the Commission has proof of infringements. It only signifies that the Commission will further investigate the cases as a matter of priority," the EU said in a statement.
The EU action comes on the heels of IBM's announcement of a new generation of mainframes known as the zEnterprise that Big Blue said included some of the most significant Big Iron changes in 20 years.
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