nother raiding party: Electronic Data Systems, anxious to boost its budding communications consulting practice, continues to cherry-pick talent from competitors. This time the Dallas, Texas-based information technology services firm hired Andrew Alpert, a former manager at Deloitte & Touche, and Charles Mason, a founder, president and director of three personal communication services companies. Mason will direct EDS' new Wireless Industry Group, with Alpert as his assistant. Dr. Joseph Kraemer, managing director of EDS's communications consulting practice, defected last year from Deloitte & Touche -- one of EDS's favorite recruiting grounds.

Now that's lobbying!: Northrop Grumman, Los Angeles, Calif., pulled off one of the most impressive lobbying feats in history last week by convincing seven -- yes, seven -- former Secretaries of Defense to urge the Clinton Administration to buy more of its B-2 bombers. If the effort succeeds, it will likely come at the expense of Calabasas, Calif.-based Lockheed's F-22 Fighter. Northrop Grumman wants the Pentagon to buy 20 more "Stealth" B-2's - which are so technologically advanced, they didn't bother to address the capabilities of a whole generation of ancient Soviet radar that can detect them - at a pricetag of $595 million apiece.

Leaving no stone unturned: Under pressure to boost revenue, Unisys Corp., Blue Bell, Penn., last week began enforcing a controversial software patent critical for downloading and displaying photographs online. The technology, known as the Lempel Zev Welch algorithm, is widely used in the Graphics Interchange Format, which Unisys patented in 1984. It had also been considered in the public domain until Unisys last week forced CompuServe Inc. to pay an undisclosed sum for it. CompuServe, in turn, has set up a plan whereby software developers using the technology shuttle 1.5 percent of the cost of each copy sold to Unisys. Simultaneously, Unisys announced an additional layoff of 4,000 workers.

Enough is enough: Cray Research, Eagan, Minn., finally parted ways with Chairman and CEO John Carlson after projections of mere break-even performance for the leading supercomputer manufacturer. COO Robert Ewald, 47, will take over as president. In a press release, a chastened Carlson noted: "I am not satisfied with our results and have concluded that I should turn over responsibility to new leadership."

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