All hail the IBM mainframe: PSI genuflects, for a price

Here’s one the lawyers probably aren’t too happy about.  IBM said today it will buy the company-most-like-a-thorn-in-its-side,  Platform Solutions, Inc. (PSI), a privately held company with whom Big Blue was trading lawsuits with over mainframe technology the past few years.

Neither company disclosed any terms of the agreement but published reports noted that HP tried to buy PSI a year or so ago for $200M but failed.

The acquisition ends the lawsuits the two companies had filed against each other. In November 2006, IBM filed a lawsuit accusing PSI of patent infringement by creating computers that let customers to run IBM's System z operating systems. PSI filed a countersuit in January 2007, accusing IBM of antitrust violations and unfair competition.

At the time, IBM said: "PSI's marketing program is a blatant attempt to infringe on IBM's intellectual property and to convert to PSI the fruits of IBM's substantial investments in developing computer systems, architectures, operating systems and other software," the lawsuit said.

PSI on the other hand said: "IBM's lawsuit against PSI is part of a concerted effort to eliminate competition for mainframe computers, and its refusal to provide the operating systems needed to run mainframe computers is PSI computers is blatantly anticompetitive.”But apparently IBM had the wallet and hammer out to squelch PSI before any more nastiness occurred.

In today’s announcement everything was shiny and happy of course:  PSI's technologies and skills, along with its intellectual capital, will become part of IBM's long-term mainframe product engineering cycles and part of IBM's future product plans. We welcome Platform Solutions and look forward to collaborating with them.,” said Anne Altman, General Manager, IBM System z.   

For its part PSI said: "We are pleased to become part of IBM, knowing IBM has the industry's most comprehensive vision for the future direction of enterprise computing, and has the requisite technologies to realize that vision," said Michael Maulick, President and CEO, Platform Solutions.

Still, I wouldn’t want to be the first PSI/IBMer to ask for a raise.

The acquisition could muddle the competitive picture a bit as another small mainframe vendor T3 Technologies said it planned to file an antitrust complaint against IBM with the European Commission. T3 in November filed a request to join PSI's U.S. lawsuit against IBM. IBM has shut out other mainframe vendors by ending support for older mainframe systems and not licensing its mainframe software to rivals, T3 said this week in an IDG News Service article.  

Layer 8 in a box

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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