|Industry||IT services, IT consulting|
|Peter Altabef (CEO)|
|Revenue||$2.02 billion (2020)|
|$87 million (2020)|
|$751 million (2020)|
|Total assets||$2.70 billion (2020)|
|Total equity||(-$329 million) (2020)|
Number of employees
Unisys Corporation is an American global information technology company based in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, that provides IT services, software, and technology. It is the legacy proprietor of the Burroughs and UNIVAC line of computers, formed when the former bought the latter.
Unisys was formed in 1986 through the merger of 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 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. Michael Blumenthal became CEO and Chairman after the merger and resigned in 1990 after several years of losses. James Unruh (formerly of Memorex and Honeywell) became the new CEO and Chairman after Blumenthal's departure and continued in that role until 1997, when Larry Weinbach of Arthur Andersen became the new CEO. By 1997, layoffs and divestitures 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-bit 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 3DVE Unisys blueprinting method of visualizing business rules and workflow in 2004.
Joseph McGrath served as CEO and President from January 2005, until September, 2008.
On October 7, 2008, J. Edward Coleman replaced J. McGrath as CEO and was named Chairman of the board as well.
On October 6, 2014, Unisys announced that Coleman would leave the company effective December 1, 2014. Unisys' share price immediately fell when this news became public.
In August 2020, Unisys Corporation reported that for the third straight year, NelsonHall has listed the organization as the regional market sector leader in the Evaluation & Assessment Tool (NEAT) Vendor Analysis report for Advanced Digital Workplace Services.
Products and services
Elo outsourcing and managed services, systems integration and consulting services, high end server technology, cybersecurity and cloud management software, and maintenance and support services.
In line with larger trends in the information technology industry, an increasing amount of Unisys revenue comes from services rather than equipment sales; in 2014, the ratio was 86% for services, up from 65% in 1997. The company maintains a portfolio of over 1,500 U.S. and non-U.S. patents. The company's mainframe line, Clearpath, is capable of running legacy mainframe software, in addition to the Java platform and the JBoss Java EE Application Server. The Clearpath system is available in either a UNISYS 2200-based system (Sperry) or an MCP-based system (Burroughs).
In 2014, Unisys phased out its CMOS processors, completing the migration of its ClearPath mainframes to Intel x86 chips, allowing clients to run the company's OS 2200 and MCP operating systems alongside more recent Windows and Linux workloads on Intel-based systems that support cloud and virtualization. The company announced its new ClearPath Dorado 8380 and 8390 systems in May, 2015. These new systems allowed the company to transition its ClearPath server families from proprietary complementary metal oxide semiconductor processor technology to a software-based fabric architecture running on Intel processors.
Unisys clients are typically large corporations and government agencies, such as the New York Clearinghouse, Dell/EMC, Lufthansa Systems, Lloyds Bank, 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 Telefónica of Spain. 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.
Additional projects include the following:
Consumerization of IT
A study sponsored by Unisys and conducted by IDC revealed the gap between the activities and expectations of the 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.
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 is 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, 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.
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 Al 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 Lempel–Ziv–Welch (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. All global patents that Unisys held relating to the standard GIF format expired as of 7 July 2004, so the Unisys LZW patent issue is no longer an encumbrance to GIF.
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 were 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.
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 censured computer security expert Chris Kubecka for an anti-censorship talk at the Hackers on Planet Earth Number Nine, a conference which focused on highlighting censorship with a talk titled: The Internet is for Porn. Unisys responded to the news story by quoting its policy on public talks by staff.
- Burroughs Corporation
- Convergent Technologies
- Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation
- Elliott ALGOL
- USAS (application)
- Internet censorship
- J. Presper Eckert
- LINC 4GL
- List of UNIVAC products
- Remington Rand
- Robert S. Barton
- Sperry Corporation
- System Development Corporation
- Whitpain Township, Pennsylvania
- Work Flow Language
- Prémio Pessoa - a prize created by Unisys and the Portuguese newspaper Expresso
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