IBM aims to discredit a study in India that claimed its mainframe business practices could hinder competition in that country's market. IBM notes that OpenMainframe.org was a key part of the study and says Microsoft is the major driver behind the organization.
IBM's mainframe business is under fire
again, this time in a study from India.
The 100-page PDF report by
ICRIER (Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations) claims that IBM's business practices around
its mainframe business in India
are thwarting competition, an accusation that echoes similar ones made in the United
ICRIER noted in the report that many of the applications that
run on IBM mainframes are tied to the
vendor's z/OS operating system, creating a lock-in scenario that makes it
difficult and costly for users to migrate workloads to other hardware
The study said IBM's mainframe
business practices aren't as big a concern in India
as they are in the United States
because System z's penetration to date is not that large. However, ICRIER noted
that IBM holds a dominant lead in the
country's high-end server market-50 percent market share, compared with 33
percent for Hewlett-Packard and 17 percent for Sun Microsystems-and that it is
something to stay aware of.
The report called for IBM to
unbundle its hardware and software.
As it has done when faced with similar accusations in the United
fired back, noting that a sponsor of the study was OpenMainframe.org, a group
that IBM officials said in a statement
"is bought and paid for" by Microsoft.
IBM officials said the study
had no credibility, and argued that they have been able to build the mainframe
business in the face of competition from x86-based systems over the past decade
by spending billions of dollars on innovation.
Some of the innovation involved ways to expand the mainframe's
reach, through the development of specialty processors to let the systems run
such tasks as Linux and Java workloads, and also by offering less expensive
systems for midrange customers.
IBM's mainframe business has
come under scrutiny in recent months. A U.S. District Court in October tossed
out a lawsuit filed by T3 Technologies, which builds non-IBM
systems that can run mainframe workloads. However, around the same time, the
Department of Justice reportedly opened
an investigation into the mainframe business.
In December, Neon Enterprise Software filed
a lawsuit against IBM, claiming that the vendor's anticompetitive business
practices have hurt Neon's business. Neon sells zPrime, a software product
designed to let IBM mainframe users save money by enabling them to shift more
workloads from expensive mainframe central processor onto less costly specialty
filed a countersuit against Neon in January, claiming Neon was enticing
customers to violate their licensing contracts with IBM
by using zPrime.