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Unisys says it's sorry
June 14, 2001: 2:43 p.m. ET

Company apologizes for inventing the computer and ruining your life
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - The computer has ruined your life: It makes you work more, it beeps, flashes and hums all day long, occasionally breaks down on you, follows you everywhere – and the final straw -- moves in with you, forcing you to do work at home. Wag the finger at the guys at Unisys who've finally stepped up to the plate after 50 years to say they are sorry for ruining our lives.

Unisys Corp. (UIS: down $0.47 to $12.42, Research, Estimates) decided to commemorate the landmark anniversary Thursday of its UNIVAC I invention, the world's first commercial computer, introduced June 14, 1951, by issuing a mea culpa to the public for inconveniencing mankind with the numerous unforeseen, yet annoying by-products of the computer age.

The Blue Bell, Pa.-based provider of e-business systems promises "to do better" as it forges ahead with more leading-edge breakthroughs in information technology.

But in the meantime, the laundry list of apologies Unisys published includes:

--Making it impossible for anyone to do more than five minutes' worth of work without being interrupted by an e-mailed joke, Top Ten list, or chain letter;

--All those Monday morning deadlines you didn't know about because they were e-mailed to your laptop at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday;

--All those theater tickets you can no longer buy at the door because every seat has already been sold online;

--Ending the great morning tradition of newspaper and coffee because  by the time your coffee is hot, the "news" in your newspaper is already two generations behind the online edition;

--Making it impossible for you to vacation in Cancun without ever losing touch with your boss back at the office.

Unisys' tongue-in-cheek communiqué is no laughing matter. "People are asking if this is a spoof. It's not. This is a huge anniversary for us, and it's not every day that that the children apologize for the acts of their parents," said Guy Esnouf, Unisys' vice president of communications.

"The original inventors of the computer wanted serious programs performed for the government and for large businesses. But computers went from planning war strategies to running games for kids. We want to apologize for that," Esnouf said. graphic


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