IBM Hits Back At Neon Mainframe Lawsuit

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IBM has not pulled any punches after it issued a stinging response to the lawsuit from Neon Enterprise Software filed last month

“IBM faces many lawful competitors in the marketplace,” IBM said in its response document. “Neon is not one of them. IBM has invested billions of dollars over the past decade to create and improve its System z offerings to make them the most competitive and innovative in the marketplace. Its substantial investment is entitled to judicial protection from Neon’s attempted piracy.”

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IBM’s mainframe business has grown over the past decade, in contrast to analysts’ assumptions that it would be greatly hurt by the rise of smaller, x86 systems. During that time, several companies have offered System z customers products designed to reduce their mainframe costs. Some, like T3 Technologies and Platform Computing, sought to sell non-IBM systems that could run mainframe workloads.

Others, like Neon, are offering software solutions to help businesses reduce their mainframe costs. TmaxSoft, which has offered its OpenFrame software as a way of helping businesses migrate off the mainframe, is now selling it as a way of enabling businesses to shift their applications written in legacy code like COBOL and PL1 to Linux. Businesses can then move those workloads onto the IFL (Integrated Facility for Linux) specialty engine, which would save companies on their z/OS licensing fees, a TmaxSoft official said earlier in January.

IBM has aggressively protected its mainframe business, leading some competitors and industry groups to accuse it of abusing its monopoly power in the space. However, a lawsuit filed against IBM was dismissed in October.

Still, the Department of Justice reportedly is looking into claims of anti-competitive practices by IBM around its System z business.

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