Compuware sues IBM for antitrust violations

Mainframe software vendor Compuware is suing IBM for unauthorised use of Compuware source code and for antitrust violations.

Mainframe software vendor Compuware is suing IBM for unauthorised use of Compuware source code and for antitrust violations.

Compuware President Joe Nathan said the company was charging IBM with using Compuware source code in its File Manager and Fault Analyzer tools, illegally tying customer purchases of mainframe software tools to purchases of other key IBM software products, steering its services customers to its own products without fair competition and denying rival vendors necessary technical information on IBM hardware and software.

"In the last 18 months that this issue has developed, we have been talking with various IBM executives at many levels, and just had not gotten anywhere," Nathan said. "We're frustrated."

IBM, which declined to comment on the lawsuit, traditionally provided independent software vendors (ISVs) with pre-release software and other technical data. As IBM began introducing its own competitive products, that information flow dried up, Nathan said.

IBM's move to bundle products and the increasing tendency of IBM's Global Services unit to steer customers to IBM's own products without open competition, was quashing competition and innovation within the ISV market, he said.

As Compuware began gathering evidence to bring an antitrust suit against IBM, the company discovered the alleged intellectual property violations, according to Nathan.

"When we looked at the IBM product, we were astonished to find that the products not only looked very similar, but the IBM product had the same bugs Compuware's product had in past releases," Nathan said.

IBM's File Manager user manual also contains numerous passages that are verbatim copies of Compuware's own manuals, including documentation of Compuware features not found in IBM's product, he said.

Compuware has discussed IBM's actions with other ISVs, but decided it needed to file the lawsuit on its own, Nathan said. So far as he knows, Compuware is the only ISV dealing with intellectual property infringements by IBM, he said.

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