IBM subject to another EC monopoly probe‾

T3 Technologies, a US mainframe maker, is to lodge a complaint with the European Commission alleging that IBM has abused its European market position.

The company claims that by tying the sale of its operating system to its mainframe hardware, IBM stifled sales of competing hardware.

It will also claim the US company has withheld patent licences and other intellectual property to the detriment of mainframe purchasers in Europe, according to the Financial Times.

The newspaper says that the move is likely to reinvigorate Brussels' questioning of IBM's operations. European Union officials had started to look at the computer group's mainframe activities in late 2007 in the wake of a similar complaint from Platform Solutions (PSI), a Silicon Valley start-up that had also been pursuing an antitrust suit against IBM in the US.

Last July IBM solved the problem by buying PSI, so the US lawsuit was settled and the European objection withdrawn.

T3 is expected to give a presentation to Commission staff in the coming weeks. If they feel that there is a case to answer, Brussels' next step would be to open a formal inquiry.

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