Five years ago the Directorate General of Competition of the European Union made a Decision related to the maintenance and the support of the IBM Mainframes. It was the result of a complaint filed 2 years before. This Decision could be compared to an earthquake as it was the first time in Europe a big IT player was forced to provide TPM’s with necessary inputs to compete on the secondary market of services. It was as well the first time a Decision article 9 was taken against an US company in favor of independent European companies. IBM was force to provide Commitments and the European Commission made them binding with a 10% penalty on the worldwide turnover in case of infringement or circumvention. This was in 2011.
Since we know how most of OEMs have been arguing about Intellectual Property in order to first withdraw the rights of customers to access bugs fixes for free and then foreclose the secondary market of services for the TPMs.
It is worth to notice that IBM was preparing its policy change (microcode update access restrictions) for Power Servers and Storage Solutions while in the meantime the company was forced to commit on making them accessible at reasonable terms and conditions microcode updates, spare parts and configuration records for mainframes.
The EU Decision will end December 14, 2016 and the subsequent contract some TPM signed (aka “TPM Agreement”) will expire at the same date. We bet the terms and conditions of the new TPM Agreement proposed by IBM will be reviewed to their lowest level while not being under the control of a Decision.
Also when you are not dealing in Mainframe products or services, this has still impact; the domination of IBM will increase their position in other segments and deeply inspire other OEMs and Software companies.
So doing nothing is absolutely no option. To get the required attention FIE supports a new complaint that has been filed to request the Commission to renew their Decision.