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Lotus trims work force after reorganization

The company notifies 183 employees that in 60 days their jobs will be terminated in an effort to eliminate redundancies between Lotus and parent company IBM's Software Group.

    Lotus Development notified 183 employees Thursday that in 60 days their jobs will be terminated, according to a company spokeswoman.

    Cambridge, Mass.-based Lotus made the cuts to eliminate redundancies between Lotus and parent company IBM's Software Group, primarily in the sales and marketing departments, spokeswoman Mary Rose Greenough said.

    Employees were told they have 60 days to find work at IBM, elsewhere within Lotus, or independent of both companies, during which they will continue in their current positions and receive pay, she said.

    With the layoffs, total Lotus employment--including IBM Software Group staff working in Lotus' human resources, finance and legal departments--stands at 7,500. Lotus reorganized those departments in January 2000, Greenough said.

    The spokeswoman said there won't be further cuts in the near future, although the company is still studying the potential for reorganization in other regional offices.

    Word of an impending reorganization of the company first came in January, when an internal memo was leaked to the media in which Lotus Chief Executive Al Zollar told some employees that a reorganization would largely be completed this quarter.

    Lotus battles Microsoft in the Web messaging and groupware markets. Groupware is software that manages digital information such as e-mails, documents and Web content for office workers.

    Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM, which acquired Lotus in 1995, has held a loose rein on the company, allowing it to continue to develop, market and sell its products under its name brand while maintaining its headquarters in Cambridge.

    The layoffs are sure to spark additional questions about Lotus' continued independence, though Greenough insists that Lotus will continue to have dedicated sales, marketing and services in support of its name brand.