IBM may have corked the wails of antitrust outrage coming from the diminutive mainframe vendor Platform Solutions (PSI) by purchasing the upstart, but the European regulator genie has already slipped out the bottle. The rival firm's legal fight in both the US and Europe over Big Blue's mainframe monopoly came to an abrupt close …
USA vs EU
In the USA, the complainant gets to "press charges", after which the police acts. If the complainant is somehow pressured into withdrawing that complaint, or if the complainant disappears, then the authorities is very restricted in its ability to pursue the complaint. It's a primitive system that encourages certain parties to make sure the complainants do, in fact, disappear.
In the EU and other more civilized countries, the complainant goes to the authorities and makes a complaint. The authorities then carry the ball from there. The disappearance of the complainant can be quite immaterial to the subsequent prosecution of that complaint. All in all, this type of system reduces the risk to the complainant, and also allows justice to be done if the complainant is "neutralized", as has happened this time with PSI.
Personally, I like the second system better.
Forget the mainframe
PSI has been doomed for years by a dwindling market.
The mainframe is a dinosaur, extinction long overdue. The result of only two vendors left proves it. It has always been a IBM defined market specialized for running multi-lievel microcode and layers of redundancy. Now we have 64bit, virtualization and clustering on most operating systems and high end servers at a fraction of the costs. If you put some efforts into your software-design you do not need a mainframe to run it on.
Mr Bjoernsvik, I think you had better reread current publications. The idea of the mainframe being a dinosaur is at best a cheap shot or maybe be a better word is "Changing with the times". If you are saying that IBM mainframes can't run MS's flavor of the day OS then that is indeed the case. But it can run LINUX and UNIX and at least 3 flavors of IBM's OS's, which btw has been around a lot longer that LINUX and any of MS offerings and possibly UNIX (but it may be arguable which flavor of UNIX you are talking about). Does age mean "bad?" if so I think you might have a lot of AARP (Association of Retired People) to come to blows with over than comment. The age of the typical US citizen is going up and IIRC in a few years going to out rank the number of people under 60. Old age (OK I am 60) is not a bad thing nor does it mean unable to do the job, nor does it mean someone (younger) can do the job better (or cheaper).
Most IBM operating systems can (and do) out perform any and all current OS's (UNIX,LINUX,MS flavor de'jour). There have been conflicting opinions on which is the cheapest. That is somewhat up for debate, for every one you can come up with I can come up with a different opinion) There are many many items that come into TCO. It is a complex subject that really needs almost a few chapters to argue one way or the other.
Yes IBM is monopolistic when it comes to their hardware. But it is similar to Macintosh's in a way. When you buy the hardware and use IBM's OS it runs PERIOD. The same can't be said with MS's OS. And to a lesser extent UNIX and LINUX are dependent on the CPU being run on and then it gets a little sticky because as we just witnessed MS Vista was tied to INTEL CPU. AMD should not be called Plug Compatible because of that (but I am digressing). If UNIX (or any other OS for that matter) uses a(n) "special" instruction(s) that works differently on the cpu it is running on chances are it will not run correctly. The idea here the OS is designed to run the best in the manufactures CPU. IBM's OS(s) runs best on IBM MF's. PSI probably reversed engineered a lot of their code to emulate IBM instructions. That may or may not have been legal and I will defer to the legal experts on that issue. PSI was a definite competition to IBM in the extremely small world of maybe a one or two person shop. IBM IMO does not offer a small developer like system currently, they did but I believe it was discontinued a year or two ago. IBM may have pulled the plug as a step in the PSI lawsuit, I don't know and I suspect IBM won't tell either, but there was some (I think legal?) reason why they discontinued it. Possibly IBM will offer it again once this whole PSI issue is forgotten. IBM did not put forward its finest foot in this PSI fiasco. This is the new IBM and it isn't like the old IBM at all. IBM may be changing to shake off its old image but it will be a few years to come up with its new image (maybe its like a lobster that discards its old shell before growing a new one). IBM is changing and its not for the better, unfortunately.
RE: Ed Gould
Ed, by your own reasoning that mainframes are needed, IBM should have siezed upon PSI as an ally, helping them expand downwards into smaller opportunities. And there would have been the added bonus of selling extra support contracts and OS licences to all those PSI customers selling IBM OS on non-IBM hardware, without the added cost of actually having to support that other vendor hardware.
No, IBM reacted to PSI as a threat, a two-pronged threat. Firstly, IBM saw that customers would realise just how over-priced and restricted they were with IBM mainframe hardware. Secondly, they realised that the favoured platform was the HP Superdome, and Superdomes would only impress customers with their flexibility, reliability and built-in redundancy. The last thing IBM wanted was a threat to the assured revenue generated by their mainframe hardware bizz by letting HP into their mainframe accounts, it would have been the ultimate hardware suicide. So IBM chose to destroy its "ally" instead.
Now, as far as I know, what the PSI guys did wasn't patented, so there's nothing to stop another start-up creating a z/OS-on-Itanium emulator, then sitting back and waiting for the IBM lawyers to start making offers....
MS Windows emulator on z/OS...
i'm sure some company will come out one day with a MS Windows comercial emulator on z/OS!
That would be an interesting achievement and probably technically not so hard to do. But i'm not sure IBM is interested on that and neither Microsoft...