IBM hit with antitrust lawsuit in France

IBM has got the French all riled up with TurboHercules slapping IBM with an antitrust lawsuit.

Currently, claims TurboHercules, IBM infringes on European antitrust laws. The French firm is accusing big blue of not allowing the IBM operating system on anything other than an IBM computer.

It would like the European antitrust authorities to stop IBM bundling software to hardware, make its software protocols and APIs open to third party vendors too.

TurboHercules, which specialises in mainframe emulation software development, says that this would be step forward to fair and just competition in the European mainframe market.

Creator and co-founder of TurboHercules, Roger Bowler, said in a blog post: “IBM claims that the mainframe represents only a tiny percentage of worldwide server shipments.  But this isn’t quite the whole story because as IBM never tires of repeating, the mainframe is an entirely different animal from Linux, Unix or Windows servers.

“No other architecture in the world performs as many business critical transactions each day or stores as large a share of the world’s most important corporate data. Viewed in this light, the fact that IBM today owns 100% of the IBM-compatible mainframe market cannot be explained away as something not worthy of concern.”

Roger goes on to say that he wrote to IBM in July 2009 “asking that it allow customers to acquire z/OS licenses for use with the Hercules open source emulator,” with the understanding that pricing and conditions would be set “by IBM at the sole discretion of IBM on reasonable and fair terms.”

He said: “After four months of silence, in November 2009  I received a reply from Mr. Mark Anzani, CTO of IBM’s mainframe division, that not only rejected our request, but went on to accuse Hercules of “infringing” IBM’s intellectual property.”

IBM was unavailable for comment.