Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
IBM The Courts News

IBM Faces DOJ Antitrust Inquiry On Mainframes 190

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the goliath-syndrome dept.
Several sources are reporting that IBM is facing an antitrust inquiry from the US Department of Justice due to a supposed refusal to issue mainframe OS licenses to competitors. "Part of CCIA's complaint stems from the tech giant's treatment of former competitor Platform Solutions. IBM had little competition in the mainframe market when Platform Solutions, early this decade, began work on servers that could mimic the behavior of more expensive IBM mainframes, CCIA said. Platform Solutions, based on past mainframe agreements between IBM and the DOJ, requested copies of IBM's OS and technical information under a licensing agreement. IBM declined to grant Platform Solutions a license and prohibited customers from transferring IBM software licenses to Platform Solutions machines, said CCIA, which has members that are potential competitors of IBM."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

IBM Faces DOJ Antitrust Inquiry On Mainframes

Comments Filter:
  • Here we go again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WinterSolstice (223271) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @01:11PM (#29683007)

    We spent years trying to get IBM to stop being a monopolistic and evil company, finally got them to change (a bit).
    Then Ma Bell, resulting in them being broken up.

    Now ATT/Bell is back to being a gigantic mega-company again, and IBM is back to the same stuff they tried against DEC and others.

    The more things change...

    • by oh_my_080980980 (773867) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @01:40PM (#29683395)
      The case was dismissed by a Federal Judge:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/08/technology/companies/08antitrust.html?_r=1 [nytimes.com]

      CCIA is shill for Microsoft. Thats' why this is happening.

      http://mainframe.typepad.com/blog/2009/10/press-reports-us-justice-dept-opens-ibm-antitrust-probe.html [typepad.com]
    • by Steeltalon (734391) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @01:43PM (#29683437)

      What are you talking about?

      The Mainframe market had competition. Up until around 2000 Fujitsu/Amdahl and Hitachi both had Mainframe systems (the so called Plug Compatible Manufacturers). They decided to bail out of the market because they didn't see enough profit in them. Since that point, the mainframe has had constant competition from smaller systems. This investigation is nothing short of ridiculous.

      • by Old97 (1341297) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @02:18PM (#29683819)
        No its not. IBM has a monopoly which is not illegal. However, it may be abusing its monopoly position by denying others entry into the market. This market is distinctly different from distributed computing. The preponderance of high value (meaning money and profits) computing by large enterprises is still done on mainframes and they are all at IBM's mercy. It's difficult and very expensive to get off the mainframe. Much more so than it is to dump Windows.
    • by Trepidity (597)

      I'm not sure this case is quite the same. Even if IBM were every bit as anticompetitive in its attempt to corner the mainframe market today as it was some decades ago, it'd be much less significant of a problem, for the obvious reason that the mainframe market is a small fraction of the overall computing market these days. IBM actually probably has more of a monopoly on mainframes today than they did then, with the zSeries being almost synonymous with [google.com] still-available mainframes, but a big part of the reason

    • Yeah, IBM ran the government out of money finally. Don't think any large company is a good guy. It's just a giant machine for making money and that's it.

    • ...and IBM is back to the same stuff they tried against DEC and others.

      Oh yes - dear gods, not again!

      I remember IBM vs. the BUNCH, their predatory anticompetitive (brilliant, but deranged) buy-up of critical parts needed by DASD competitor Memorex (forced them into Chapter 11) with a long list of acts of um, anomalous civility that made Microsoft look saintly and the SCO/Linux litigation a traffic ticket in comparison.

      Which strikes me as being all rather odd, given that this is not an era where popular opinion is encouraging toward corporate excess.

  • by david_thornley (598059) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @01:12PM (#29683025)
    If Slashdot were old enough, this would be a dupe. This is exactly what IBM was slapped down for in the 1960s. The anti-trust case left companies like Itel and Amdahl able to produce and sell IBM-compatible mainframes running IBM software.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Antitrust jurisprudence has changed a lot since the '60s. IBM's current behavior is most likely legal under current law. There is generally nothing wrong with unilateral refusals to deal, and I don't see how this situation deserves special treatment.

      The problem here is that even though IBM's behavior is almost certainly legal, the DOJ could force IBM to spend a lot of money on essentially frivolous litigation. Anyone who favors the rule of law should be against these tactics. If the Obama administration

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ZekoMal (1404259)
        The Congressional route is more efficient and fair when it isn't full to the rafters with inefficient corporate puppets that IBM can eagerly stuff full of cash to prevent any sort of trouble coming there way.
      • by SparkyOfGenius (982525) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @02:43PM (#29684111) Journal

        This is not necessarily the case. Although it is correct to say that usually a company is under no "duty" to license out its IP, there are notable exceptions. One being, if a company has licensed its IP openly in the past and made assurances of future RAND licensing and a market/ecosystem has formed around it and then when it reaches a dominant position where the entry barriers are high (i.e. "installed base opportunism") and changes it strategy in order to make exorbitant profits--then antitrust might recognize a duty to deal.

        In the mainframe space, IBM was under a consent decree (settlement with government) and government scrutiny until 2001, where it was deemed that due to changes in the IT world - the decree was no longer necessary b/c IBM faced new sources of competition. This competition never materialized--and in fact the few competitors who were in the market exited because they were no longer guaranteed interface specifications and licensing necessary to make compatible machines.

        From the customer side, the vast majority of the world's corporate and public sector data is locked-into the mainframe--especially areas that require high-levels of batch processing--financial institutions, airlines, credit card companies, health care, social security administration, etc. It is incredibly hard to "migrate" off of a mainframe--sometimes impossible. This is why IBM can charge so much to legacy users--a gig of RAM on a mainframe costs almost $6,000--a little bit of a markup. In fact, mainframes apparently account for nearly a 1/4 of IBM's nearly $100 million annual revenue. The world is so tied to mainframes behind the scenes--IBM has even said on its own website: "It is no exaggeration to say that, without the Internet, many businesses would suffer but, without the IBM mainframe, the global financial system would collapse."

        The companies at which IBM has allegedly taken this action against have all focused on helping customers migrate off the mainframe and allow this data to move to other, less expensive machines. It would definitely make business sense for IBM to do that--however, I also believe it is a likely violation of antitrust law--both here and in Europe.

        • yeah, they may be charging a bit more than is necessary for the hardware and software, but maybe not as much as it seems.

          Go back and look at the the recent topic on RAM errors.

          Things brought out that are relevant here. Commodity RAM appears not to be significantly more error prone than name brand RAM, but there are still lemons.

          A mainframe maker worth its salt is going to have to cull those lemons out, and that kind of hardware testing is expensive.

          A huge part of the reason we can buy cheap hardware is that

    • by japhering (564929)

      Not quite true.. in the 60's IBM got hit for applying engineering changes for the simple purpose of excluding interoperability between hardware .. had an IBM mainframe but wanted to by cheaper EMC storage.. would work until an IBMer saw and reported .. then all the sudden there would be an engineering change to the IBM hardware with would break the competitor hardware.

      As was well as terminating support for any IBM software that was not running on IBM hardware.

      Between the two, IBM did a fairly good job of

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by aztracker1 (702135)

      Well, given those circumstances, where's the DOJ Antitrust Inquiry into Apple for OSX licensing?

  • by Burdell (228580) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @01:15PM (#29683067)

    How is this different from what Apple does with OS X and Macs?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bluefoxlucid (723572)
      It's not.
    • by alop (67204) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @01:19PM (#29683121) Journal

      Technically, anything proprietary is monopolistic...

      If you're the ONLY one making [mainframes/Macintosh/widget Z], wouldn't that make you an automatic monopoly?

      If someone wants to make a work-a-like/compatible product to your proprietary product, are you bound to oblige?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MBGMorden (803437)

        What I'd find equally interesting is how such a decision could affect game console manufacturers. There are already third party/cloned NES,SNES, and Genesis systems but those are all for obsolete platforms that I doubt Sega OR Nintendo really care much about anymore.

        However, it would be interesting to see a clone Xbox 360, or a clone PS3, etc. If the road were legally clear to make them (such as if a precedence were set by a lawsuit like this one), then I'd bet we'd see clones of such systems out of Taiwan

        • It's the OS (Score:4, Insightful)

          by poptones (653660) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @01:35PM (#29683341) Journal

          Cloning a mainframe doesn't mean cloning the operating system. Cloning a mac doesn't mean cloning the OS - I can make a workalike mac but apple still wont license me the software. Game machines have built in non portable operating systems. XB360s have operating systems married to their disc drives! In order to clone a game machine I'd have to clone the built in operating system which cannot be done due to copyright restrictions.

          What I find interesting is how someone can make a workalike mainframe without violating IBM patents on some CPU/management/I/Oprocessing hardware. AMD and Cyrix have been able to "clone" Intel functionality only because of past agreements and licensing deals and lawsuits.

          • Re:It's the OS (Score:4, Interesting)

            by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @01:48PM (#29683491)

            Cloning a mainframe doesn't mean cloning the operating system. Cloning a mac doesn't mean cloning the OS - I can make a workalike mac but apple still wont license me the software.

            I think that's the crux of the case though. Depending on how courts decide on the issue, refusing to license the software to run on compatible hardware from a third party could be construed as an anti-competitive behavior. Precedent was set with Bell for splitting up a company to solve the issue. It would be interesting to see a court ordered separation of the hardware and software divisions of both IBM and Apple.

            • by japhering (564929)

              I think that's the crux of the case though. Depending on how courts decide on the issue, refusing to license the software to run on compatible hardware from a third party could be construed as an anti-competitive behavior. Precedent was set with Bell for splitting up a company to solve the issue. It would be interesting to see a court ordered separation of the hardware and software divisions of both IBM and Apple.

              What? IBM still has a hardware division ? I'm flabbergasted! :-)

            • If you are going to go so far as to force Apple and IBM to split their hardware divisions and software divisions into separate companies, why not go all the way --

              Force a certain largish OS house that also sells rather well-selling Apps that mostly run only under their OS to split their OS department and apps department into separate companies?

              Actually, I'm all for it. I like small.

              But I'd rather see said certain largish OS house split up before Apple and IBM. (And split into more than two pieces.)

              Except fo

              • by MBGMorden (803437)

                While I certainly wouldn't care if they were split up, Microsoft actually hasn't put up much opposition to running office on non-MS platforms. They develop a Mac port themselves, but they've also not really put up any roadblocks to Office working via WINE. Indeed aside from their age old "DOS isn't done till Lotus won't run" bit, I've not really heard much about Microsoft deliberately trying to prevent their software from working with something from another group or vendor. It's almost antithetical to ho

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by mcgrew (92797) *

        If someone wants to make a work-a-like/compatible product to your proprietary product, are you bound to oblige?

        You can't stop them. All you can stop them from doing is using your trademarks, copyrighted material, and patented processes/devices.

        If you have a monopoly on your widgets and abuse that monopoly, then you are in trouble with the DoJ and may in fact be forced to help your competetitors learn how to make widget clones.

      • by japhering (564929)

        As long the the new product was designed and built without the engineers (both hardware and software) having access to the original product, your are required to allow them to presuming they have negotiated the appropriate licenses for any patents.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      While the direct circumstance appears the same, the big picture is not. IBM enjoys having practically no competition in the mainframe market. Apple's desktop/laptop market shares plenty of competition with PCs. A company that builds desktops or laptops that isn't allowed to license OSX still has the option of obtaining a license of windows or installing a Linux distribution on their machine. This will prevent Apple from being forced to open OSX, at least from a monopolistic standpoint.

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday October 08, 2009 @01:28PM (#29683247) Homepage Journal

      If Apple's and Microsoft's market shares were reversed, it wouldn't be different at all. But Apple by no means has a monopoly on PCs. This is about IBM abusing its mainframe monopoly. If Sun, etc were as big as IBM it would be ok, but it's not.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Trepidity (597)

        Mainframes aren't really some insulated-from-competition class by themselves anymore, though. For almost all jobs where a zSeries is an option, there are other options [wallstreetandtech.com] as well. In the modern market, I'd see a zSeries as just one product offering in a competitive market, not a product class on its own.

      • I'm a little bit confused. What monopoly does IBM have? Aren't there 'mainframes' available from the likes of HP, Fujitsu, Sun, Siemens, and other companies? I suppose that might depend on the definition of 'mainframe'. I know there are certainly supercomputers, and "Enterprise Servers", and "High Performance Clusters", and such available from multiple vendors. Seems to me that the existence of other alternatives, even if they aren't defined as 'mainframes', suggests that all potential customers aren't lock

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          You don't have to have 100% of the mnarket to have a monopoly. Just as Microsoft isn't the only company writing OSes yet is a monopolist, IBM has enough market share to be tagged a monopoly.

        • by Znork (31774)

          Today's mainframe isn't much different from your average tightly coupled HPC cluster, architecturally it's very similar to blades coupled with Infiniband connections. High end, but nowhere near special any more. IBM tries to keep the actual naming of components differentiated from what things are called in the rest of the industry, and appears to hammer down hard on any benchmarks that reach the world to avoid the risk of their customers accidentally making comparisons with commodity hardware, but most of i

          • Today's mainframe isn't much different from your average tightly coupled HPC cluster, architecturally it's very similar to blades coupled with Infiniband connections.

            I can't see your point of view, to be honest. There's the separation by instruction sets at the hardware level, which means incompatibility at the software end. Binaries ain't binaries at that point. Since the CICS etc. software runs only on those instruction sets, you've effectively a barrier that means all high end OLTP running on established business software (stupendous amounts of legacy code) can only run on the mainframe. It's not technology so much as tradition, but try getting an alternative (su

          • One thing stands between commodity hard/software and mainframes.

            Go back to the recent topic on RAM errors to get a taste of the difference.

            The most expensive element of manufacturing is the amount of time a part or a product is receiving human attention. Trained human attention is more expensive than untrained. At present, it takes trained human attention to make sure that otherwise commodity parts can produce the high reliability required in the mainframe world.

            Of course, they are automating as much of the

      • by reiisi (1211052)

        Is Sun in the mainframe market?

        (Yeah, I know that some of Sun's offerings can conceptually compete with pSeries stuff, particularly for new applications, but there's a bit of a difference between direct and indirect competition.)

    • by h2okies (1203490) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @01:32PM (#29683299)
      IBM is a monopoly. There are no other competitors in the mainframe business. IBM just doesnt make the OS they make the hardware as well. They essentially broke every other competitors back by either pricing them out or buying them up. They became the defacto big iron supplier in the world and abused said position every time anyone came out with better faster or cheaper hardware than them, history has repeated itself. This position allows them to dictate the market place and pretty much kill off invention and improvement. The pc market place is full of competitors duking it out to make a buck and gain your business as a hardware supplier. The mainframe you have a choice for both the OS and hardware it is IBM or ...
      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by hrvatska (790627)

        IBM is a monopoly. There are no other competitors in the mainframe business. IBM just doesnt make the OS they make the hardware as well. They essentially broke every other competitors back by either pricing them out or buying them up. They became the defacto big iron supplier in the world and abused said position every time anyone came out with better faster or cheaper hardware than them, history has repeated itself. This position allows them to dictate the market place and pretty much kill off invention and improvement. The pc market place is full of competitors duking it out to make a buck and gain your business as a hardware supplier. The mainframe you have a choice for both the OS and hardware it is IBM or ...

        There are plenty of other competitors in the large scale computing environment that compete quite well with IBM mainframes. And plenty of companies migrating to those competitors every year. IBM offers a stellar product with outstanding service, but that comes at an extremely high price. Many of its customers are not willing to continue paying that high price, so they migrate to other solutions. Just as Apple can dictate to the OSX marketplace, but not the entire desktop marketplace, IBM can dictate to t

      • by bws111 (1216812)

        IBM was accused of doing those things in the 50s and 60s. In the 70s, 80s, and early 90s they had plenty of competition in the mainframe market (Hitachi, Amdahl, Fujitsu, etc). By the early 90s the mainframe market was being seriously eroded by competition from other platforms. IBM responded by completely revamping their mainframe line (switching from bi-polar to CMOS technology), which allowed them to drop the price significantly, and remain competitive in the overall server market. The other manufactu

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by h2okies (1203490)

          Except both of you are incorrect. There wasn't this massive mainframe competition. IBM was THE company. The others attempted to gain entry into their already owned MF market and at every corner because IBM had already a leg up on virtually all comers they used predatory practices and price pressure and refusal to cross license and highly restrictive software licenses to drive out any competition. They further forced any existing customer down a lengthy road of renewal negotiations if any outside big iron su

    • by cabjf (710106)
      Well, if no one else was really making computers anymore (and moved on to something else, I guess), it would be similar. That's the thing about a monopoly. You actually have to have one first. Having a monopoly of almost all mainframes and only licensing an Operating System and software for those mainframes is different than having a monopoly of a specific Operating System that is only licensed for specific hardware which in total is less than 10 percent of the personal computer market.
    • by mewsenews (251487) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @01:37PM (#29683371) Homepage

      How is this different from what Apple does with OS X and Macs?

      IBM is screwing with the big boys rather than screwing over "consumers". If someone tried to make an interoperable cell phone that was capable of running iPhone apps they would be shut down so fast your head would spin.

      The entire PC industry started when someone reverse engineered the PC bios but those days are long gone and we live with laws like the DMCA, software patents, and other abominations that stifle innovation.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      If Apple had an effective monopoly on desktop and laptop machines (as IBM does on mainframes), it would be the same. But since Apple has no such monopoly, it's completely different.

      And don't make the absurd statement that Apple has a monopoly on Macs unless you're willing to call BMW a monopoly because they're the only company that can build BMWs.

      • by hrvatska (790627)

        And don't make the absurd statement that Apple has a monopoly on Macs unless you're willing to call BMW a monopoly because they're the only company that can build BMWs.

        BMW is to other luxury auto makers as IBM mainframes are to other large scale computing solutions. IBM does not hold a monopoly on large scale computing solutions. There are plenty of companies that offer Linux and/or Unix solutions that compete nicely with mainframes. And every year there are an increasing number of companies that choose to migrate from mainframes to Linux/Unix. IBM is not necessarily a loser in these migrations, since it's one of the leading competitors in the large scale Unix market.

    • Because there are many vendors in the home computer market. Such as Dell, HP, Gateway, and so forth. Remember government labels things differently than say how the rest of the world would label it. As far as many regulators see it Apple = Dell = HP = Gateway...

      The thing that gets you on anti-competitive charges, or at least one of the things, is how you behave in a given market. Apple created OSX, much how Microsoft created Office (I know it is a OS versus a piece of software, I'll cover that in a bit.
      • by bws111 (1216812)
        IBM can not 'refuse' to allow anyone to make clone hardware (as long as they don't violate patents). IBM can not refuse to let anyone run any OS they like on their hardware, or any cloned hardware. What IBM CAN (and is) doing is refusing to allow THEIR software to run on cloned hardware.
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Or phones.. or a thousand other devices.

    • Although Apple is the only one that produces Macs, it competes in the PC market. After all, Macs are PCs (AKA Personal Computers). PCs have a large market where no one has a monopoly or controls what gets purchased, or has a supply chain they fully control (hardware wise), so you can't claim monopoly on hardware. Also, Apple doesn't have to license their software to work with everything since you have a choice to choose something else, and everyone right now sells something else, so there is no monopoly
      • by bws111 (1216812)

        Define 'mainframe' market. From your use of it I am guessing you mean 'systems with IBM's Z architecture'. Well, if you are going to define that market so narrowly, shouldn't you also define the market Apple is in as 'systems sold by Apple'? Why not take a sensible approach and say that IBM is in the 'enterprise server' market, and Apple is in the 'PC' market.

        In the enterprise server market, you will find many OS's (various flavors of Unix, Linux, z/OS, even Windows). z/OS has a whopping 9% of this ma

  • by vrmlguy (120854) <samwyse&gmail,com> on Thursday October 08, 2009 @01:18PM (#29683111) Homepage Journal

    NASA announced plans to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade, the president announced that he was not a crook, and thousands of hippies descended upon Woodstock for 3 days of peace & music,

    • ctrl-c, ctrl-c

      God damnit, how do I break out of this loop!
    • and thousands of hippies descended upon Woodstock for 3 days of peace & music,

      Except this year it was called the ACL [ngepress.com] Music [austin360.com] Festival [kxan.com].

    • Heh. I was reading the brochure for the upcoming System/360 system (pdf copy, sadly, we don't have the original in the collection) and then I came to Slashdot and saw this. Your post sums up my reaction quite well...
  • Interoperability (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I never understood how companies could get in trouble for not sharing interoperability information. If I was trying to shut out my competitors, I would offer the information as a license and just charge a stupidly high amount for it.

    Platform Solutions: We want to make compatible hardware. Give us documents
    IBM: No.
    Platform Solutions: Fine, we'll sue.
    IBM: Ok. Here is the docs. You owe us $1,000,000,000 to use them

    It works well for keeping Joe blow from writing software for consoles, I don't see why it wouldn'

  • . Many mainframe customers would like to find cheaper alternatives, but IBM has prevented them from doing so, he said.

    "There's a number of things they have done to numerous companies," he said. "In a time of economic troubles, government deficits and corporate problems, there's a lot of customers that [would find] a choice and lower costs really desirable."

    Develop a "mainframe" computer - whatever that means these days, create an OS derived from Linux and develop a COBOL compiler and CICS system for it. I'm sure Websphere can be incorporated too.

    Exactly, what's the big deal - technically?

    Business: IBM's contracts run out, and move in with a cheaper alternative.

  • Do what MS does. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ant P. (974313) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @01:55PM (#29683559) Homepage

    Give the hardware away for free with each OS licence sold.

    Or in other words, the pricing doesn't change for legitimate customers, but these guys have to eat the cost of a full system plus their own hardware per sale. That'll stop it pretty fast.

  • by Jay Maynard (54798) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @02:04PM (#29683647) Homepage

    The NYTimes story [nytimes.com] on the inquiry mentions that they're also looking at IBM's refusal to license their software to run on the Hercules [hercules-390.org] open source IBM mainframe emulator. It ill be interesting to see if this goes anywhere.

  • I don't see a problem with it when you have a vendor that is providing a total 'solution'. If you don't like that way of doing business, just choose another vendor.

  • by jasen666 (88727) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @02:25PM (#29683929)

    Why is this different from Apple not licensing use of it's OS on non-Apple computers?
    Wasn't Irix only licensed to run on SGI machines?
    HP-UX? Others?

  • What is the definition of a Mainframe? A big fast machine with a shitload of features. High IO, bunch of memory. What's to stop any competitor from building their own mainframes? You can find systems that run the gamut from minicomputer to supercomputer and all points in between from all kinds of vendors.

    Antitrust law is a relic of the Standard Oil/US Steel days and it's turned into a logically inconsistent hobgoblin used by competitors to whine about their competition.

    First, a monopoly should be supply-

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      it's turned into a logically inconsistent hobgoblin used by competitors to whine about their competition.

      No, it's used against monopolies who abuse their monopoly position.

      First, a monopoly should be supply-side limited, not demand side. If there are 5 products of roughly type Widget available but consumers overwhelmingly choose Widget A, it's not a monopoly.

      It isn't illegal to have a monopoly, it's illegal to abuse that monopoly.

      Second, monopoly law should be applied to physically limited resources that ar

    • What is the definition of a Mainframe?

      One definition that might fit your context a little better is "A big fast machine that runs absolutely every back-end banking transaction in your world." This ain't your average LAMP stack making your world a little better, this is a machine that owns the market for commercial transactions.

      Every. Fucking. Bank. Transaction.

      Doesn't that deserve a bit of scrutiny?

  • by bl968 (190792) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @03:01PM (#29684323) Journal

    But if this was Apple vs Palm and iTunes instead of IBM and a mainframe OS, the fanboi's would be saying but Apple developed their software and have the right to deny the use of it to anyone else. Since this is IBM I bet the debate is going the other way... Lets go take a peek....

    • The main difference would be with digital music (the market), you can purchase MP3's from a number of online stores inlcuding Amazon.com. Apple + itunes + ipod/iPhone may dominate that market with their platform, but they are not forbidding other manufactures and distributers from creating their own digital media players + store + digital music. So while Apple is dominate, they aren't doing anything to stop others from entering the market place. If you want, you're free to source MP3 players from china,

  • by PPH (736903)
    What's a mainframe?
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      What's a mainframe?

      Take out your cell phone and have a look at it. In 1972 it would have been more than a mainframe, as it's more powerful than the most powerful supercomputer at the time. Except the 1972 cell phone took a very large building to house.

      A mainframe takes up a whole floor of most buildings. I had a class about ten years ago, the instructor was head of IT at the Illinois Secretary of State, and he took us for a tour of the mainframe that fed the Illinois State Police. It's pretty impressive to

  • There may not be a lot of competitors on the hardware front, but anyone who wants to engineer an IBM-compatible mainframe can consult the Principles of Operation manual and build one. This is about the allowing the OS to run on that compatible hardware - I don't know, legally, nor under the 1957 Consent Decree, whether IBM is compelled to do that or not. They did do it for Amdahl and some others, and it didn't seem to hurt them a lot - they seemed to always be 6 months ahead with hardware innovations (on
  • How can you have a monopoly on something that is dead on gone? ;-)

  • Wait! (Score:3, Funny)

    by WiiVault (1039946) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @04:32PM (#29685517)
    So do we hate IBM now?

"I prefer rogues to imbeciles, because they sometimes take a rest." -- Alexandre Dumas (fils)

Working...