|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2011)|
|Traded as||NYSE: UIS|
|Industry||IT services, IT consulting|
|Headquarters||Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Key people||J. Edward Coleman (Chairman & CEO)|
|Services||IT, business consulting and outsourcing services|
|Revenue||$3.706 billion (2012)|
|Profit||$145.6 million (2012)|
Unisys has a long history in the technology industry. The company traces its roots back to the founding of American Arithmometer Company (later Burroughs Corporation) in 1886 and the Sperry Gyroscope Company in 1910. Unisys predecessor companies also include the Eckert–Mauchly Computer Corporation, which developed the world's first commercial digital computers, the BINAC, and the UNIVAC.
In September 1986 Unisys was formed through the merger of the mainframe corporations Sperry and Burroughs, with Burroughs buying Sperry for $4.8 billion. The name was chosen from over 31,000 submissions in an internal competition when Christian Lee Machen submitted the word "Unisys" which was composed of parts of the words united, information and systems. The merger was the largest in the computer industry at the time and made Unisys the second largest computer company with annual revenue of $10.5 billion. At the time of the merger, Unisys had approximately 120,000 employees. By 1997, layoffs had reduced world-wide employee count to approximately 30,000.
In addition to hardware, both Burroughs and Sperry had a history of working on U.S. government contracts. Unisys continues to provide hardware, software, and services to various government agencies.
Soon after the merger, the market for proprietary mainframe-class systems—the mainstream product of Unisys and its competitors such as IBM—began a long-term decline that continues, at a lesser rate, today. In response, Unisys made the strategic decision to shift into high-end servers (e.g., 32 processor Windows Servers), as well as information technology (IT) services such as systems integration, outsourcing, and related technical services, while holding onto the profitable revenue stream from maintaining its installed base of proprietary mainframe hardware and applications.
Important events in the company's history include the development of the 2200 series in 1986, including the UNISYS 2200/500 CMOS mainframe, and the Micro A in 1989, the first desktop mainframe, the UNISYS ES7000 servers in 2000, and the Unisys blueprinting method of visualizing business rules and workflow in 2004.
On October 7, 2008, J. Edward Coleman replaced J. McGrath as CEO and Chairman.
Products, services, and customers
In line with larger trends in the information technology industry in the United States, an increasing amount of Unisys revenue comes from services rather than equipment sales; in 2008, the ratio was 88% for services, up from 65% in 1997.
Unisys clients are typically large corporations or government agencies, such as Washington Mutual, the New York Clearinghouse, Dell, Lufthansa Systems, Lloyds Bank, EMC, SWIFT, state governments (e.g., for unemployment insurance, licensing), various branches of the U.S. military, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), numerous airports, the General Services Administration, U.S. Transportation Security Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Nextel, and Telefonica of Spain.
The company maintains a portfolio of over 1,500 U.S. and non-U.S. patents.
Unisys systems are used for many industrial and government purposes, including banking, check processing, income tax processing, airline passenger reservations, biometric identification, newspaper content management, and shipping port management, as well as providing weather data services. Unisys developed the software for NEXRAD, the original doppler weather radar, and has since provided weather data consisting of radar, satellite, lightning, etc. Unisys operates the world's largest RFID network for the U.S. military, tracking 9 million containers yearly to 1,500 nodes in 25 countries. It also created the universal identification card for citizens of South Africa.
The company engages in consulting, one-time contract jobs, and contracts for ongoing outsourced IT services. Services include building and integrating hardware and software systems, providing ongoing hosting and management of data, Business Processing Outsourcing, outsourced help desks and End User Services, Secure Cloud, planning operational processes and changes, and providing security services.
The company's mainframe line, Clearpath, is capable of running not only mainframe software, but both the Java platform and the JBoss Java EE Application Server concurrently. The Clearpath system is available in either a UNISYS 2200-based system (Sperry) or an MCP-based system (Burroughs).
The company launched a new set of initiatives which include
Consumerization of IT: A study sponsored by Unisys and conducted by IDC revealed the gap between the activities and expectations of new generation of “iWorkers” and the ability of organizations to support their needs. The results showed that organizations continue to work with standardized command and control IT models of the past and are not able to profit from the widespread use of newer networked technologies.
Security Index: A biannual global study that provides statistically relevant insights into the attitudes of consumers on a wide range of security related issues, including:
- National security: including concerns related to terrorism and health epidemics
- Financial security: regarding financial fraud and ability to meet personal financial obligations
- Internet security: related to spam, virus, and online financial transactions
- Personal security: concerning physical safety and identity theft
Cloud 20/20: Unisys Corporation launched Cloud 20/20, an annual technical paper contest for tertiary students from India in October 2009. The contest allows students to explore the possibilities and complexities of cloud computing in areas such as automation, virtualization, application development, security, consumerization of IT and airports. The contest has drawn participation from universities across India two years in a row, with over 570 institutes taking part in 2009 and more than a thousand in 2010. The contest culminates in an event where five finalists present their papers before a panel of judges that comprise academicians and technologists. Prizes include the latest technology gadgets, internship projects and career opportunities with Unisys. The latest version of the contest is currently underway.
Social Collaboration: Unisys was in the news for enhancing social collaboration within the organization. The company has used social media tools successfully, to become more agile, to share knowledge, and to increase the speed of innovation. Unisys was one of five companies featured in a new infographic on The Social Media Marketing blog; Unisys was noted for using social media internally for effective collaboration and a boost to company productivity.
Unisys operates data centers around the world that are certified on global standards for service quality and excellence. Those certifications include ISO 9001:2008, ISO 20000-1:2005, and ISO 27001 standards. Unisys data centers follow Global Process Standards (GPS) for Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) processes. It also supports and manages data centers at client-owned facilities.
|Location||Country||ISO 9001||ISO 20000||ISO 27001|
|Salt Lake City-Utah||United States||N/A||Certified||Certified|
|Rio de Janeiro||Brazil||Certified||Certified||Certified|
|Milton Keynes||United Kingdom||Certified||Certified||Certified|
In addition, Unisys operates several software development centers that have achieved process maturity following the Software Engineering Institute's Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) for Development Model. The CMMI for Development model provide guidance for applying CMMI best practices in a development organization. Best practices in the model focus on activities for developing quality products and services to meet the needs of customers and end users. Published appraisal results can be found on the SEI's website.
Unisys aims to produce environmentally responsible products and services. The company has corporate policies to encourage employees to conserve energy and to conduct recycling and energy conservation programs within its facilities and data centers.
Clean air program: Provides employees with the option of setting up home based offices and reduce the need for daily work related travel. In 2010, this travel reduction resulted in the elimination of over 8500 metric tons of CO2 emissions.
Community projects: Unisys was recognized by the City of San Diego as the ‘Recycler of the Year’ from 2002 to 2005 and was given the Integrated Waste Management award by the State of California in 2002–2005. Unisys was honored at the 2008 Computerworld Green IT Symposium in Washington, D.C. In 2009, Unisys was named in the Black Book of Outsourcing as one of the top 50 “green” outsourcing providers in the world.
Pollution prevention: Since 1996, Unisys has reduced hazardous waste generation by approximately 95%. Unisys has collected over 35 million pounds of used electronic products internally and from customers since 1997. Many parts were refurbished for future use or sold while the remaining materials were delivered to end of life electronic equipment recyclers.
ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems: The Unisys manufacturing site in Irvine, California, received ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS) certification. Through ongoing EMS implementation, the company continues to formulate and implement policy and objectives that incorporate legislative requirements, environment-friendly technological approaches, and new information about significant environmental impacts.
Unisys is listed as #44 (tied) on the Top 100 Corporate Criminals of the Decade list for the 1990s
In 1987 Unisys was sued with Rockwell Shuttle Operations Company for $5.2 million by two former employees of the Unisys Corporation, one a subcontractor responsible for the computer programs for the space shuttle. The suit filed by Sylvia Robins, a former Unisys engineer, and Ria Solomon, who worked for Robins, charges that the two were forced from their jobs and harassed after complaining about safety violations and inflated costs.
Unisys overcharged the U.S. government and in 1998 was found guilty of failure to supply adequate equipment. In 1998, Unisys Corporation agreed to pay the government $2.25 million to settle allegations that it supplied refurbished, rather than new, computer materials to several federal agencies in violation of the terms of its contract. Unisys admitted to supplying re-worked or refurbished computer components to various civilian and military agencies in the early 1990s, when the contract required the company to provide new equipment. The market price for the refurbished material was less than the price for new material which the government paid.
In 1998, Unisys was found guilty of price inflation and Government Contract Fraud with the company settling to avoid further prosecution. Lockheed Martin and Unisys paid the government $3.15 million to settle allegations that Unisys inflated the prices of spare parts sold to the U.S. Department of Commerce for its NEXRAD Doppler Radar System, in violation of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729, et seq. "[T]he settlement resolves allegations that Unisys knew that prices it paid Concurrent Computer Corporation for the spare parts were inflated when it passed on those prices to the government. Unisys had obtained price discounts from Concurrent on other items Unisys was purchasing from Concurrent at Unisys' own expense in exchange for agreeing to pay Concurrent the inflated prices". Prior to 1993 Unisys paid Senator D'Amato's brother, Armand P. D'Amato for access to the senator. Armand P. D'Amato was convicted for mail fraud in connection with $120,500 he received from Unisys to lobby the Senator.
Unisys attracted attention in 1994 after announcing its patent on the LZW data compression algorithm, which is used in the common GIF image file format. For a more complete discussion of this issue, see Graphics Interchange Format#Unisys and LZW patent enforcement.
Unisys was the target of "Operation Ill Wind", a major corruption investigation in the mid-to-late 1980s. As part of the settlement, all Unisys employees were required to receive ethics training each year, a practice that continues today.
In 2003 and 2004, Unisys retained the influential lobbyist Jack Abramoff, paying his firm $640,000 for his services in those two years. In January 2006, Abramoff pleaded guilty to five felony counts for various crimes related to his federal lobbying activities, though none of his crimes involved work on behalf of Unisys. The lobbying activities of Abramoff and his associates are now the subject of a large federal investigation.
In October 2005, the Washington Post reported that the company had allegedly overbilled on the $1-to-3-billion Transportation Security Administration contract for almost 171,000 hours of labor and overtime at up to the maximum rate of $131.13 per hour, including 24,983 hours not allowed by the contract. Unisys denied wrongdoing.
In 2006, the Washington Post reported that the FBI was investigating Unisys for alleged cybersecurity lapses under the company's contract with the United States Department of Homeland Security. A number of security lapses supposedly occurred during the contract, including incidents in which data was transmitted to Chinese servers. Unisys denies all charges and said it has documentation disproving the allegations.
In 2007 Unisys was found guilty of Misrepresentation of Retiree Benefits. A federal judge in Pennsylvania ordered Unisys Corp. to reinstate within 60 days free lifetime retiree medical benefits to 12 former employees who were employed by a Unisys predecessor, the Burroughs Corporation. The judge ruled that Unisys "misrepresented the cost and duration of retiree medical benefits" at a time "trial plaintiffs were making retirement decisions" and while it was advising them about the benefits the company would provide during retirement.
Also in 2007, Unisys was found guilty of willful trademark infringement in Visible Systems v. Unisys (Trademark Infringement). Computer company Visible Systems prevailed over Unisys Corp. in a trademark infringement lawsuit filed in Massachusetts federal court. In November 2007, the court entered an injunction and final judgment ordering Unisys to discontinue its use of the “Visible” trademark, upholding the jury’s award to Visible Systems of $250,000 in damages, and awarding an additional $17,555 in interest. Visible Systems claimed Unisys wrongfully used the name "Visible" in marketing its software and services. The jury found the infringement by Unisys was willful. Visible Systems appealed the final judgment, believing the court wrongly excluded the issues of bad faith and disgorgement of an estimated $17 billion in unjust profits from the consideration of the jury.
In 2008 Joe McGrath stepped down after a no confidence vote from the board, and was replaced by J. Edward Coleman, former CEO of Gateway Incorporated. The president of the federal sector, Greg Baroni, was also fired. Unisys announced on June 30, 2008, that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had not selected the company for Phase 2 of procurement for the Information Technology Infrastructure Program. In July, Unisys announced its plans to file a formal protest of the TSA decision with the Government Accountability Office (GAO). On August 20, 2008, the TSA announced it was allowing bidding from all competitors including Unisys and Northrop Grumman, who both filed formal protests with the GAO and protested TSA's decision to the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Dispute Resolution, after not initially being selected.
Also in 2010, Unisys Hungary terminated the local Workers' Union representative Gabor Pinter's employment contract with immediate effect for raising concerns on the company's practice about the overtime payments and the non-respect of the health regulations in its local Shared Services Center. According to the verdict of the Labour Court of Budapest, Unisys' act was illegal and the Company must reimburse all damages of the Workers' Union representative.
In 2012, Unisys Netherlands reportedly censored an employee for giving a presentation delivered at Last H.O.P.E Number Nine about online censorship. The employee was threatened with termination for the presentation. Unisys responded to the new story by quoting a non-existent policy.
- Burroughs Corporation
- Convergent Technologies
- Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation
- Elliott ALGOL
- Internet Censorship
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- LINC 4GL
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- Remington Rand
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- Sperry Corporation
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