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If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Sue ‘Em, Then Join ‘Em?

By John | July 2, 2008

Once there was a little startup that figured out how to run IBM’s Z/OS on Itanium-based servers. In fact the founders of this startup had been doing this sort of thing forever since they were ex Ahmdahl guys. At first IBM didn’t mind this little startup selling their low end mainframes until HP tried to buy the startup for $200m. Then IBM filed a lawsuit and put a stop to the HP sale? So then the startup shot back with a counter suit claiming that IBM was abusing its mainframe monopoly and being anti-competitive. I am sure IBM legal, in their infinite wisdom, were figuring this would be just another run of the mill bring your guns to a knife fight and it would all be over reall quickly. However, somewhere along the way David showed up and some of IBM’s other refurbishing resellers partners started yelling and some even joined in on the lawsuit. Then the clever startup started a parallel antitrust complaint with the European Commission. Now this opened a huge can of worms for IBM. However, the little startup was still having a hard time convincing it’s customers to buy their solution while the IBM lawsuit was holding over them. Just about the time IBM thought they had the startup on the ropes guess who stepped in with $37m in funding? Yep, Microsoft. This put a little wind in the startups sails and stretched the lawsuit out longer than IBM ever imaged. So after about 18 months, IBM announced today that all disputes are resolved and IBM will be acquiring the startup. Ain’t capitalism great?

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