EC clears IBM's planned buy of Rational

The European Commission cleared IBM Corp.'s planned acquisition of full control of Rational Software Corp. Thursday.

"The deal will not significantly alter the current competitive structure of the related markets," the European Union competition regulator said in a statement.

While IBM is active in the development, production and marketing of IT systems, equipment, services and computer software, including software development tools, Rational is a software company that exclusively develops and markets software development tools.

"No significant activity overlap between the two parties has been found in the software development tools industry," the Commission concluded after a routine one-month assessment of the proposed deal.

Rational, based in Cupertino, California, holds strong positions mainly in analysis/modeling tools as well as testing tools, while IBM is strong in the building tools segment.

The Commission also investigated whether the proposed operation could lead to foreclosing competitors by either bundling Rational's and IBM's products or denying timely information to Rational's competitors who develop tools targeting IBM's application servers.

The Commission concluded that the presence of strong competitors in each market, the open-standards on which Java-based application servers mostly rely, the fast pace of innovation in the related markets and the "mix-and-match" policy applied by many customers would make such strategies "very unlikely to be sustainable."

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