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  (Source: neurope.eu)
IBM offered to give technical information and certain spare parts to other companies that maintain IBM's mainframe hardware and software

It seems as if the European Union (EU) is making a sport out of probing tech companies and charging them billions in fines. For instance, the EU slammed Microsoft with a 1.4 billion fine back in 2008 for violating antitrust laws. The EU has repeatedly attacked the company before and after that. In addition, the EU announced last week that it is still investigating Google's search dominance, saying that the search giant may have abused competitors.

International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) was thrown into two EU antitrust investigations last July, where competing suppliers of mainframe maintenance services accused IBM of "discriminatory behavior" in refusing to supply such inputs required for maintenance. 

The second investigation, which examined whether 
IBM was unfairly tying its mainframe hardware with its operating system, has recently been closed.

A preliminary assessment for the first investigation by the EU found that IBM's procedures "may amount to a constructive refusal to supply these inputs." The EU's executive Commission added, "IBM does not agree with the Commission's preliminary assessment. It has nevertheless offered commitments...to meet the Commission's competition concerns." 

IBM's offering of concessions could settle the EU's investigation and allow it to dodge any fines or antitrust infringement findings. 

IBM offered to give technical information and certain spare parts to other companies that maintain IBM's mainframe hardware and software under specific, non-discriminatory terms, according to Reuters.

The concessions would last for five years, and now, the EU says third party companies have one month to discuss the proposals. If the proposals are accepted, IBM will not be fined. But if the EU finds that IBM committed antitrust infringement, it may have to pay fines of up to 10 percent of global revenues. 

"I commend IBM's readiness to address our concerns about fair competition in the market for large computers which are crucial for the functioning of today's economy," said Joaquin Almunia, EU competition commissioner.



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By BZDTemp on 9/20/2011 1:05:28 PM , Rating: 2
That's like buying a car with the medium options package and then claiming you didn't buy a car.

The UK is a fully EU member that has selected a few exceptions not the other way round. It's just like several other EU nations that have special rules - for instance Denmark have also kept their own currency.


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