IBM makes antitrust commitment to get EC off its back

IBM has been let off the hook from an EU antitrust wrangle following commitments to play fair with its mainframe services.

The European Commission announced that IBM has offered up its spare parts to competing mainframe maintenance service providers, following allegations that it was breaking antitrust laws.

An investigation has been running since July last year but now IBM has agreed to stop hogging maintenance nuts and bolts, as well as offering to provide technical information as much as is reasonable.

EC vice president Joaquín Almunia even went as far as to praise IBM for not throwing its weight around, commending Big Blue’s readiness to address “concerns about fair competition”. 

It is a change from earlier this year where the EC raised concerns with bully-boy Big Blue that it had been abusing its “dominant position” by enforcing “unreasonable supply conditions”.  But it seems that some stern words have done the trick and IBM is keen to behave itself.

The commitments from IBM could now be made legally binding by the Commission, which has invited any interested parties to voice their opinions on IBM’s promises.

Further good news came for IBM as another part of the antitrust officially fell through.

Three firms were levelling accusations at IBM over tying its mainframe hardware to its operating system, making it very difficult for any customers to switch if they wanted to. 

But following the allegations being dropped it appeared only a matter of time before the EC put the matter to bed, following what is described as an in depth investigation.