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12/7/2006
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Mainframe Clone Maker To Continue Sales Program Despite IBM Patent Suit

Platform Solutions is in the midst of an early ship program with trial customers and plans full commercial availability of its Intel-based IBM mainframe clones in early 2007.

Executives at mainframe clone maker Platform Solutions said they will continue to sell systems based on IBM technology despite a patent infringement lawsuit Big Blue filed against the company last week.

"We're continuing as we always have to bring a product to market," said Christian Reilly, Platform Solutions' VP for product development. Reilly, in an interview Wednesday, said the company believes IBM's suit has no legal merit. "We absolutely respect intellectual property and feel this lawsuit is unjustified," said Reilly.

Platform Solutions is in the midst of an early ship program with trial customers and plans full commercial availability of its Intel-based IBM mainframe clones in early 2007, said Reilly. The systems are configured to run IBM's z/OS and OS/390 operating systems atop Intel Itanium 2 processors instead of IBM's dedicated mainframe processors.

German airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG is among the customers participating in the early ship program, Reilly said. He declined to name other customers or say how many customers are in the program.

Reilly said the legal action is simply a defensive move by IBM. "The timing of the suit is no coincidence. We've recently won mainframe server deals where we've been in direct competition with IBM," Reilly said.

To date, no Platform Solutions customers have been scared off by the IBM lawsuit. "Nobody has retracted themselves from our early ship program," Reilly said, declining to say whether Platform Solutions has offered to indemnify customers from legal action by IBM.

As first reported by InformationWeek, IBM last week sued Platform Solutions in U.S. District Court in New York. IBM is alleging that the mainframe "emulator systems" offered by Platform Solutions violate IBM patents on its z/OS operating system as well as patents relating to its previous mainframe operating system, OS/390.

IBM is seeking an injunction that would prevent Platform Solutions from marketing and selling its systems and is asking for unspecified financial damages.

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