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AT&T plans to lay off 40,000

AT&T officials said the company will shed about 40,000 jobs as a result of its plan to split into three distinct companies. Separately, Gartner Group said it will move its @vantage online service from AT&T Interchange Online Network to the Internet.

AT&T officials said they will pare the giant company of about 40,000 jobs as it moves to split into three separate firms selling computer hardware, telephone equipment and services, and networking and online services.

To cover costs associated with the breakup, the company will take a $4 billion after-tax charge against fourth-quarter earnings.

On the online services front, market research and consulting firm Gartner Group announced that it will move its @vantage service to the Net by the second quarter.