BMC buys software from vendor that lost IBM legal battle

Neon was forced to stop selling its zPrime mainframe software due to a settlement with IBM last month

BMC Software said Friday it has acquired a range of IMS (information management system) database software and related customers from Neon Enterprise Software, which recently lost a legal battle with IBM over a mainframe-related product called zPrime. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Neon's IMS tools help mainframe users manage and keep up IMS database installations. Their addition to BMC's existing lineup of mainframe software will create "the broadest and most comprehensive" IMS toolset in the industry, BMC said in a statement.

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The deal follows last month's settlement of a long-running legal dispute between Neon and IBM over zPrime.

The product allowed customers to save money by moving mainframe workloads over to IBM's specialty zAAP and zIIP processors, thereby allowing them to avoid "punitive software license fees" related to the use of IBM's standard central processors, according to a lawsuit Neon filed in December 2009 against IBM.

In its suit, Neon claimed IBM had been making erroneous statements about its software in order to shield its mainframe revenue.

IBM later countersued, saying Neon's product amounted to an "attempted hijacking" of its intellectual property, and that the company's business model relies on "inducing IBM's customers to violate their agreements with IBM.

As a result of the settlement, which was announced May 31, Neon was permanently barred from marketing or selling zPrime. It was also forced to ask current users to uninstall and destroy any copies of the software.

Now the BMC transaction has cut deeper into Neon's portfolio. Its remaining products include MoveOp, a tool that helps customers migrate Solaris and AIX server environments to Red Hat and SUSE Linux platforms.

A Neon spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com.

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