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Trade Group Challenges IBM’s Freedom from Court Restrictions

June 24, 1994

NEW YORK (AP) _ An association representing 200 companies that maintain computers asked a federal judge on Friday to reject IBM Corp.’s request that it be freed from a 1956 court order that limits its computer services businesses.

The Independent Service Network International said the order allowed independent computer maintenance companies to form because it requires IBM to sell parts and documentation to such firms. The motion is the first to oppose IBM’s effort to end the court restrictions.

″If the consent decree is lifted, then IBM can pretty much set their own rates,″ said Claudia Betzner, executive director of the Atlanta-based trade group. ″They can set rates higher for independents than they do for other people or themselves.″

She said IBM now provides parts and training on an equal basis to service providers of all sizes. More than half the group’s 200 members maintain IBM equipment.

IBM spokesman Scott Brooks said the company could not comment since it had not seen the association’s motion.

A hearing is set for July 7 on an IBM motion to dismiss federal judge David Edelstein from presiding over the dispute. The judge presided over the 1952 case that led to the consent decree and over another antitrust case brought against the company in the 1970s.

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