IBM case shows tough anti-trust stance

A sign marks the entrance to IBM Corporate Headquarters in Armonk, New York.

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: IBM is under Justice Department scrutiny for alleged unfair behavior in the mainframe-computer market. Mainframes are the big computers that run corporate databases and accounting programs such as those that operate ATMs. Marketplace's John Dimsdale reports from Washington on an investigation that's signaling a tougher anti-trust stance by the Obama administration.


John Dimsdale: Competitors complain IBM is illegally bundling its software and hardware, forcing customers to buy both mainframe and operating system.

One case was ended last year when IBM bought the competitor that made the complaint. There was another case that was thrown out by a federal judge last week. But the Justice Department has been gathering information from that case to see if IBM is abusing its monopoly power.

The government filed an anti-trust lawsuit against IBM in the 1970s, but the case was later dropped by the Reagan administration. Now, Obama-appointed anti-trust enforcers have been busy scrutinizing the high-tech industry.

Prosecutors are also looking at a Google deal with book publishers and at the agreements between mobile-phone companies and handset makers.

In Washington I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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