EU accepts IBM antitrust concessions, ends probe
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators accepted concessions offered by International Business Machines Corp to end an antitrust investigation and avert a possible fine, the European Commission said on Wednesday.
The U.S. company had in September proposed to provide certain spare parts and technical information to other companies which maintain its mainframe hardware and software, under fair and reasonable terms.
The European Commission said it was satisfied that the concessions, which were revised after a market test and are valid for five years, were sufficient to address competition issues.
"I am pleased that we could find a swift solution with IBM to our competition concerns. Timely interventions are crucial in fast-moving technology markets," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.
The Commission's decision confirmed what two sources familiar with the matter had told Reuters last week.
IBM said it was glad the matter had been resolved.
"IBM welcomes this final resolution of the inquiry into certain IBM mainframe maintenance practices and is pleased that the Commission's investigation of the IBM mainframe is now concluded," the company said in a statement.
Many big firms, universities and governments use mainframe computers to store and process large quantities of data.
This is the second case involving IBM that the European Commission has wrapped up this year. The EU watchdog closed an investigation into IBM in August after three small rivals dropped complaints.
The Commission, which acts as competition regulator for the EU and can fine companies up to 10 percent of their global turnover, has imposed billion-euro fines against technology firms such as Microsoft and Intel for breaching EU rules.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Rex Merrifield and David Holmes)
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