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IBM lays off 700 in services

As part of its regular review process, Big Blue eliminates roughly 700 services positions in the United States.

IBM's services arm has eliminated about 700 jobs in the United States.

IBM Global Services this week laid off 720 employees as part of a regular review process, a company representative said.

"The nature of the services business is that you have to have the right skill for the projects you're doing at any given time and in the future," the representative said.

The layoffs, which were scattered around the United States, affect less than half a percent of IBM Services' global employee roster, which numbers about 180,000, he said. The company employs about 315,000 worldwide.

The job cuts come after the elimination of about 380 jobs last week in the company's Software Group, as part of a similar review process. Earlier this year, IBM cut about 600 jobs in its Microelectronics division. Those cuts came as part of an effort to return the chip unit to profitability, the company said at the time.

But IBM eliminated far fewer jobs in 2003 than it did in 2002, when it cut more than 15,000 jobs in an effort to cut costs.

All employees affected by the services job cuts will be offered the opportunity to apply for other positions within IBM, the representative said.