OFT not interested in cash machine software compatibility

OFT notice that it has closed (more than two months ago) an investigation into alleged abuse of a dominant position by the cash machine manufacturer NCR. The investigation started as a result of a complaint by Korala Associates Limited (KAL), a Scottish software developer, about access to and licensing of technical interface information to allow third-party software to run on NCR cash machines. The case is presumably connected with litigation/arbitration between the same parties over KAL's alleged misuse of equipment provided by NCR (under a software development subcontract) to develop its own competing software for NCR machines.

KAL alleged two abuses against NCR:

The OFT's grounds for closing its investigation were that

Despite considering the matter for two years, the OFT does not report any investigation into the specific allegations of discrimatory treatment made by KAL, the question of whether NCR's refusal to supply and licence interface information to KAL had an exclusionary object, or the extent to which NCR might have had a dominant position.

Instead it seems that the OFT's work had focused on surveying cash machine operators to "gauge whether there was industry interest in developing Platform Software for NCR ATMs and whether there was likely to be demand for this". The OFT does not disclose what the results from this gauging exercise were, how they might have contributed to the investigation (was it an attempt at an IMS Health test, and if so what were the "new products or services" not offered by NCR for which demand was surveyed?), or whether they have any connection with the discriminatory abuse allegation relating to application software (rather than platform software).

For further information or advice please contact Franck Latrémolière.

Filed under Article 82, OFT.

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