System Development Corporation evolved out of the System Development Division of the RAND Corporation. The RAND Corporation was a non-profit group incorporated in 1948 by technical engineers and military people who worked together during World War II. The System Development Division was established in 1955 to prepare SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) system training programs. They also studied human and machine interactions, and how systems of people and machines worked together.
The Division was spun off in 1957 (employees were informed in Autumn 1957), and became the non-profit company named SDC, or System Development Corporation. Its original purpose was "to work in the public interest on research, development, and application of information technology and the system sciences associated with computers." It essentially worked on the same types of problems as it did as a Division of RAND. It's main customer was the U.S. military, although it was sometimes a consultant of large, private businesses.
SDC converted to a for-profit operation in the fall of 1969, although it had normalized relations with the Air Force in 1966. This meant it would compete for Air Force business as any other private company would. Other companies already in this market complained that SDC had an unfair advantage, in that it was originally a government sponsored and supported company, and had extensive experience with U.S. military contracts.
SDC was like a family for many, and former and present SDCers hold regular meetings. For information, visit the SDC Reunion Website.
SDC was acquired by Burroughs Corporation in 1980. Burroughs was interested in SDC's experience in systems engineering capability. Burroughs and SDC had worked together early in the SAGE program. In 1985, SDC had booked government contracts totaling more than $650 million with the Defense Department, NASA and other government agencies.
In September of 1986, Burroughs Corporation and Sperry Corporation completed a merger that had been started over a year before. W. Michael Blumenthal, president of Burroughs Corporation, and Joseph J. Kroger, president of Sperry Corporation, became Chairman/CEO and Vice-Chairman, respectively, of the new company. After an employee name change contest, the new company emerged with the name Unisys Corporation (which was actually submitted by about 10 people).
On May 5, 1995, Unisys Corporation announced that it had completed the sale of its defense business to Loral Corporation for $862 million in cash. The operations sold employ approximately 8,500 people and had revenues of approximately $1.4 billion in 1994. The sale did not include Unisys Federal Systems and Health Information Management business units which provide commercial information systems and services to the U.S. Government and other public sector client The three key elements of the agreement are: first, the combination of the two companiess (but which were originally a part of SDC).
On January 8, 1996 Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) announced agreement on a series of interrelated strategic transactions with an estimated value exceeding $10 billion. The three key elements of the agreement are: first, the combination of the two companies' defense electronics and system integration businesses to enhance competitiveness and opportunities for growth in the rapidly evolving global environment; second, the distribution to Loral shareholders of its holdings in the fast-growing space and telecommunications market through a newly formed company to be called Loral Space & Communications Corporation; and third, a purchase by Lockheed Martin of an equity position in Loral Space. Under the agreement:
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