Yesterday, IBM filed suit against Micro Focus for claims of copying part of the z/OS for data mapping in the web services implementation of Micro Focus Enterprise Suite. To understand this suit, I think the most relevant excerpts of claims in the suit are:
26. CICS® TS (Customer Information Control System Transaction Server) Web Services uses a “web service binding file,” known as a WSBIND file, to expose CICS® TS programs as web services and maps data received.
40. Micro Focus’s Enterprise Suite offers a web services implementation (“Micro Focus Web Services”) that includes a WSBIND file for mapping data
• Micro Focus’s WSBIND file uses IBM internal structures that are not available outside of IBM.
• The Micro Focus utility processing reflected in the log file exhibits the same configuration, program sequence, program elements, program optimizations, defects, and missing features as the corresponding CICS® TS utility programs.
• Micro Focus’s WSBIND file is encoded in EBCDIC—like IBM’s—yet, Micro Focus has no need for using that encoding as it uses an ASCII environment.
(Analyst’s note: I think this is probably going to be one of the key hinges of the lawsuit. EBCDIC is really an IBM-specific format at this point while ASCII is everywhere. A bit weird to use IBM’s specific encoding for characters.)
42. …no legitimate reason for Micro Focus to have copied IBM’s computer program. Without copying from IBM, Micro Focus had a broad range of design and architectural choices that would have allowed it to create software that offers the same features as the Micro Focus Enterprise Suite.
It’s no secret that IBM has bet the farm on modernization and digital transformation (see Red Hat). The ability to manage IBM customer technology evolution is core to the future of the business. If nothing else, this suit sends a strong message: Don’t Mess with the zSeries. I’m interested to see how this suit will reference Google vs. Oracle: this isn’t the same, but I’d imagine Micro Focus will try to make it sound that way.
Copy of complaint if you want to read the entire IBM legal complaint for yourself : https://filecache.mediaroom.com/mr5mr_ibmnewsroom/194536/Micro%20Focus%20Complaint.pdf