IBM faces a new EU antitrust complaint

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IBM faces a new EU antitrust complaint

Tampa (FL) – A small mainframe computer maker, T3 Technologies, Inc., announced yesterday that it will file an antitrust complaint against IBM in Europe today, alleging IBM “boxed it out of the market by refusing to sell its customers the operating software to run its machines,” according to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

According to T3’s president, Steven Friedman, his company had $10 to $20 million in annual sales until late 2006 when IBM stopped licensing to a “key T3 supplier, and stopped selling operating-software licenses to T3 customers.” After this, “his sales collapsed.”

According to the WSJ, T3 is one of the “last survivors,” after companies like Amdahl Corp, Control Data Corp, Digital Equipment Corp, Honeywell and NCR Corp have since exited the mainframe business. According to Friedman, T3’s computers can do the same job as IBM’s mainframes – but for less money.

According to the complaint, T3 alleges “tying,” which means IBM won’t sell software separately from its hardware. T3 alleges customers have have only one choice if they want to use IBM-like products and services, and that’s to strictly go with IBM’s hardware. This allegedly harms competition, according to T3.

T3 and IBM are currently involved in a U.S. suit whereby IBM alleges patent infringement, and T3 alleges antitrust abuses.

Last week, Microsoft announced it was under investigation by the EU Comission on antitrust violations relating back to 1996 when Internet Explorer began being bundled with their Windows operating system.

See The Wall Street Journal.