Wednesday, December 06, 2006

IBM sues Platform Solutions for patent infringement

Although the conventional wisdom has been that IBM doesn't sue people over patents, recent events with Amazon and with Platform Solutions suggest that conventional wisdom may be wrong.

ZDNet reports on Dec. 6:

IBM, which filed the suit last week in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, claims that Platform Solutions (PSI) has violated the terms of a customer agreement with the technology giant and infringed five patents.

PSI declined to comment on the suit's specifics, but Christian Reilly, vice president of product management and marketing at the server specialist, called it "unjustified." "We believe IBM sees us as real competition. We provide customers with an alternative," Reilly said.

The company, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., is developing servers that use Intel's Itanium processors but that can run z/OS, IBM's mainframe operating system, alongside higher-level mainframe software. The move to bring the software to comparatively mainstream systems is unusual: z/OS today runs on IBM mainframes that use an entirely different processor.

PSI's machines also can run more conventional operating systems--including Linux, Windows and Unix--that are already geared for Itanium. The company is currently testing its servers with select customers and plans to begin selling its systems early next year, Reilly said.

In its complaint, IBM said PSI holds an IBM customer agreement that allows it to license Big Blue's operating system software and other software, but only as an end-user.


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