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Mainframes Make News, Episode 1

I cut my journalistic teeth on MIS and mainframes. As a young buck writing for Computerworld in 1985, it was all CICS, terminal emulation, spaghetti code and leased big iron. A year or two later, pundits were predicting the death of the mainframe, upon which IBM exercised a Microsoft-esque (big) iron grip.

Twenty-four years later, I'm more of an old sow than a young buck, but the mainframe is as young as ever -- and so are lawsuits over IBM's monopoly. The old mainframe cloners like Amdahl are long gone, turning a mere monopoly into a sheer monopoly. And IBM will do whatever it takes to preserve its market grip.

Platform Solutions built a tool that let commodity servers run mainframe software, and IBM wasn't too happy. It tried to stop Platform, then bought the company so it could shelve the technology that could've changed the fundamental economics of mainframe computing.

Many in the industry are complaining, including a trade organization that counts fellow monopolists Google and Microsoft as members. My guess: IBM's mainframe grip will remain as strong as Google's and Microsoft's.

Posted by Doug Barney on March 27, 2009 at 11:53 AM


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