IBM European Antitrust Complaints Dropped by Three Companies

Three companies are dropping European Union antitrust complaints against International Business Machines Corp. over its mainframe computers.

T3 Technologies Inc. and Neon Enterprise Software LLC have or will withdraw separate complaints filed with the European Commission, IBM said in a regulatory filing last month. TurboHercules SAS has also withdrawn its complaint, said Carina Oliveri, a spokeswoman for the company in Paris.

The European Commission declined to comment on the status of its investigation into allegations IBM linked sales of its mainframe computers to its software and that it discriminated against competing sellers of services for the computers.

EU antitrust regulators often end investigations into companies after complaints from rivals or customers are withdrawn. The European Commission ended a four-year-old probe into Qualcomm Inc. in 2009 after all complaints were withdrawn.

IBM, the biggest computer-services company, declined to comment beyond its regulatory filing.

Austin, Texas-based Neon said in May that it settled its legal dispute with IBM and would stop selling its zPrime software and request customers to remove and destroy their copies. Two calls and two e-mails to the company today weren’t immediately answered.

Dropped Appeal

T3 withdrew its EU complaint in May after dropping an appeal to a U.S. court ruling dismissing its claims against IBM, according to IBM’s filing. T3 didn’t respond to a telephone message and e-mail to its Tampa, Florida offices.

The European Commission opened two separate investigations into Armonk, New York-based IBM last year over possible anti-competitive behavior that may have blocked competition for rival mainframe software and on maintenance contracts for the systems by “restricting or delaying access to spare parts.”

While IBM has shifted its focus away from hardware toward its more profitable software and services businesses, the mainframe operations have high gross margins and helps pull in revenue for other IBM divisions. IBM began developing mainframe computers in the 1940s and 1950s and is now among the few companies to offer the systems.

Reuters reported the IBM regulatory filing earlier today.

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