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7/2/2008
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IBM Settles Mainframe Lawsuit By Acquiring Clone Manufacturer

Platform Solutions Inc. was bought out by IBM for an undisclosed sum. IBM said it will integrate PSI's mainframe technology into its own offerings.

IBM said Wednesday that, as part of a legal settlement, it has acquired a mainframe clone manufacturer that it had previously sued for patent violations.

The clone maker, Platform Solutions, Inc., was bought out by IBM for an undisclosed sum.

IBM said it will integrate PSI's mainframe technology into its own offerings. "We will continue to move the mainframe forward through both IBM innovation and by acquiring new technologies," said Anne Altman, general manager of IBM's mainframe unit, in a statement.

Although mainframe use by corporations has declined in recent years, the machines are still popular in research environments that require massive processing power. IBM reported that sales of its System Z mainframes increased 10% in the most recent quarter, on the strength of the company's introduction of its new z10 enterprise server.

In a lawsuit filed in 2006 in U.S. District Court in New York, IBM alleged that PSI's Intel-based mainframe emulator systems infringed its patents on the z/OS operating system for the System Z and its older, OS/390 mainframe operating system.

PSI, which was founded in 1999 by a team of engineers that formerly worked at mainframe maker Amdahl, countersued IBM -- alleging that Big Blue was attempting to monopolize the mainframe market in the wake of Amdahl and Hitachi's exit from the field.

PSI "now stands as the only viable threat to IBM's mainframe monopoly," the company claimed in the countersuit.

With IBM's acquisition of PSI, the company now appears to stand alone in the mainframe market. "As part of this acquisition, both IBM and PSI dropped their respective claims against each other," IBM said in a statement.

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