Welcome!

IBM Cloud Authors: Derek Weeks, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Kevin Benedict, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: ColdFusion, IBM Cloud, Containers Expo Blog

ColdFusion: Article

T3 Sues IBM To Break its Mainframe Monopoly

Its 47-page suit filed in district court in New York the other day says IBM has been squeezing out any competition

T3 Technologies Inc., once the world's second-largest mainframe systems integrator, has sued IBM for destroying its business, charging it, for starters, with tying, monopoly maintenance and leveraging, denying access to an essential facility and restraint of trade.

It has asked the court for permission to join the massive, very similar antitrust suit that mainframe wannabe Platform Solution Inc. (PSI) filed against IBM earlier this year.

T3, a PSI reseller, wants a jury trial, treble damages, IBM's anticompetitive practices permanently enjoined and the court to order IBM to license its mainframe patents, which it says are an essential facility, on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.

Its 47-page suit filed in district court in New York the other day says that since IBM's consent decree with the United States government was phased out in 2001 IBM has been systemically squeezing out any competition to its mainframe monopoly and that it has reneged on its undertaking to the government to keep its mainframe operating system available on RAND licensing terms after the decree expired.

It accuses IBM of conning the market into standardizing on IBM mainframe architecture by freely and broadly disseminating its hardware and software specifications and then pulling the rug out from under it by refusing previously guaranteed licenses.

"IBM's policy of RAND licensing and system openness was integral to its success, public image and reputation," it says. "Consumers have been deceived into purchasing IBM's products based on its reputation and representations of openness and fairness."

T3 is particularly incensed that "IBM postures itself as a champion of 'open systems and standards,'" demanding that competitors like Microsoft provide reasonable and non-discriminatory access to interoperability information but won't do it itself. It's a fraud and a hypocrite, it says.

And T3 points out that the market is completely captive to IBM. There are no reasonable PCM substitutes; the TCO of an IBM z/990 is 30%-60% cheaper than combining 30 Sun or Linux boxes to do the same task. And upwards of a trillion dollars worth of mainframe software, mostly written in COBOL, can't be rewritten and run on other machines.

Its suit reminds the court that when the DOJ agreed to dissolve IBM's consent decree the DOJ warned that "should IBM engage in anticompetitive tying - be it to parts or operating system - the United States could bring an action for injunction relief…" and that "IBM would be liable to a host of potential private treble damage actions."

QSGI, a buyer, refurbisher and reseller of IBM zSeries mainframes, also said IBM is forcing it out of business during its Q3 conference call with Wall Street a few weeks ago.

It blamed IBM's use of "actionable anticompetitive business practices" that "have impacted the entire industry for remarketing of these zSeries mainframe systems."

T3 says money is behind IBM's monopoly protection. "If the downward trend in price per MIPS between 1960 and 2000 had continued from 2000 to 2006, the price per MIPS should now be approximately $165 - but today it is more than six times that amount at approximately $1,000." As a result, the largest systems today cost closer to $18 million rather than $3 million.

According to the story T3 told the court, it used to resell low-end sub-50 MIPS IBM mainframes mostly to SMBs and state and local governments while IBM concentrated on the Fortune 500, that is it did until IBM eliminated all its sub-60 MIPS products in 1999. T3 claims the move forced small users to buy bigger, pricier machines than they needed.

So without that IBM product to sell, T3 started selling its own Intel-based tServer in 2000.

With software from Fundamental Software Inc. (FSI) the tServer could run IBM's 31-bit mainframe operating system. It was a cheaper sub-80MIPS stand-in for IBM mainframes - and since Amdahl and Hitachi had just exited the mainframe market - T3 was the only alternative to IBM's larger machines.

The FSI software was created under a patent license from IBM and IBM's PC unit even created a product out of it that T3 was going to resell until IBM discontinued the product six months later.

Anyway, T3 sold 600 of its tServers worldwide to accounts like the US Air Force for AWAC and nuclear weapons control applications.

Then the consent decree was dissolved and less than a year later, the suit says, IBM VP of North American mainframe channel sales Richard Cummings and IBM VP of US mainframe channel sales told T3 president Steven Friedman that IBM didn't like T3 selling those tServers even if IBM didn't offer products with similar power or pricing.

And if T3 didn't stop selling them, they allegedly said, IBM would prohibit T3 from selling its mainframes. T3 refused and IBM canceled its sales contract at the end of 2002.

But T3's tServer business was good and revenues increased. It was selling 100-150 machines a year and FSI's technology improved so it could scale to 100 MIPS.

Then, in 2004, IBM discontinued the 31-bit OS on which the tServer was based and contrary to its usual practice ceased to support all its older mainframe operating systems. The z/OS became its only mainframe operating system.

IBM also announced that z/OS would only be supported on 64-bit hardware and it refused to license FSI the IP underneath z/OS so FSI could make its software compatible and run it on alternate 64-bit hardware.

Left without a product again, T3 tried selling PSI servers, which run z/OS, z/VSE, OS/390 and VSE in 31- or 64-bit technologies - as well as Windows, Linux and Unix - and scale up to 260 MIPS.

IBM ran hot and cold in license discussions with PSI for a few years and it ultimately refused to license the start-up its older OS/390-related patents or z/OS discontinuing a decades-long practice. IBM even took down the web site where it represented that it licenses its patents on a non-discriminatory basis.

It refused to license z/OS to users unless they bought IBM hardware and it refused to provide PSI with the critical interface information that IBM used to provide, stuff that's needed to develop a compatible mainframe operating system. It also demanded proprietary information from PSI without promising not to use it as a precondition to further negotiations.

And then when they started marketing the systems anyway IBM allegedly told T3 customers that using the PSI Liberty Servers would result in a loss of reliability, availability and serviceability (RAS) and that IBM is "committed to putting PSI out of business."

T3 calculates the market-wide cost of IBM's "exclusionary campaign" in the billions of dollars passed on to the consumer. It wants damages based on lost profits and loss business opportunities.

It repeats IDC calculation that the market for systems up to 350 MIPS approaches 1,000 systems a year worth $500 million in sales.

For more information about Kidaro's virtualization solutions, please contact Nazli Ekim at SS PR, (646) 278 6014 -office (917) 355 9650 -cell nekim@sspr.com.


More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Kevin Kinney 12/01/07 12:21:45 PM EST

Another puppy on the tit turns into a leech on the ass.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera offers a radically new approach to data management, where innovative software makes data infrastructure invisible, elastic and able to perform at the highest level. It eliminates hardware lock-in and gives IT organizations the choice to source x86 server nodes, with business model option...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, I provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
From 2013, NTT Communications has been providing cPaaS service, SkyWay. Its customer’s expectations for leveraging WebRTC technology are not only typical real-time communication use cases such as Web conference, remote education, but also IoT use cases such as remote camera monitoring, smart-glass, and robotic. Because of this, NTT Communications has numerous IoT business use-cases that its customers are developing on top of PaaS. WebRTC will lead IoT businesses to be more innovative and address...
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, discussed the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insights from the vast t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Elastifile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Elastifile Cloud File System (ECFS) is software-defined data infrastructure designed for seamless and efficient management of dynamic workloads across heterogeneous environments. Elastifile provides the architecture needed to optimize your hybrid cloud environment, by facilitating efficient...
Recently, IoT seems emerging as a solution vehicle for data analytics on real-world scenarios from setting a room temperature setting to predicting a component failure of an aircraft. Compared with developing an application or deploying a cloud service, is an IoT solution unique? If so, how? How does a typical IoT solution architecture consist? And what are the essential components and how are they relevant to each other? How does the security play out? What are the best practices in formulating...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arvind Radhakrishnen discussed how IoT offers new business models in banking and financial services organizations with the capability to revolutionize products, payments, channels, business processes and asset management built on strong architectural foundation. The following topics were covered: How IoT stands to impact various business parameters including customer experience, cost and risk management within BFS organizations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Golden Gate University will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Since 1901, non-profit Golden Gate University (GGU) has been helping adults achieve their professional goals by providing high quality, practice-based undergraduate and graduate educational programs in law, taxation, business and related professions. Many of its courses are taug...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, will introduce two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Secure Channels, a cybersecurity firm, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Secure Channels, Inc. offers several products and solutions to its many clients, helping them protect critical data from being compromised and access to computer networks from the unauthorized. The company develops comprehensive data encryption security strategie...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sudarshan Krishnamurthi, a Senior Manager, Business Strategy, at Cisco Systems, discussed how IT and operational technology (OT) work together, as opposed to being in separate siloes as once was traditional. Attendees learned how to fully leverage the power of IoT in their organization by bringing the two sides together and bridging the communication gap. He also looked at what good leadership must entail in order to accomplish this, and how IT managers can be the ...