A long running legal dispute between IBM and datacentre software provider Neon has ended with the latter agreeing to cease sales, exports, distribution and licensing of its zPrime tool after a judge ruled that it broke IBM's customer agreements.
The case began in 2009 when Neon sued IBM for anti-competitive practices. However, IBM countersued claiming that the zPrime tool infringed on its licences by providing a workaround for its specific workload tools.
The US District Court that heard the case has sided with IBM and ruled that Neon and its partners must now stop offering the product and are not able to renew, extend or transfer any existing licences or service periods for existing customers.
No other Neon products are affected by the ruling. V3.co.uk contacted IBM for comment on the judgement, but had not received a response at the time of publication.
Clive Longbottom, an analyst with Quocirca, told V3.co.uk that Neon found itself in a tough position, as most firms would rather not risk incurring the wrath of Big Blue for the sake of the few dollars that zPrime could have saved them.
"It was within the letter of the law, but not within the spirit of it. Neon really should have worked with IBM on this one, rather than trying to be too bullish," he said.
"When Quocirca spoke to mainframe users about [zPrime], larger ones said their relationship with IBM meant the issue of paying by the MIPS [millions of instructions per second] was not an issue, and others said their relationship with IBM was more important than saving a few dollars."
Despite the court ruling, Longbottom suggested that the loss of zPrime was not a major issue for Neon but that customers would have to stop using the system or run it unsupported.
"For Neon, the loss of zPrime as a product is probably no great thing - our research had shown that zPrime was not something users were really looking for," he said.
"A customer who has gone down the zPrime route will now either have to continue running unsupported, or move back to running the workload on the main machine and pay on a per-MIPS basis."
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