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Microsoft to chop 200 sales jobs

In addition to the losses, company is creating 66 new jobs, largely ones with more direct customer interaction.

Microsoft said Thursday that it is cutting about 200 jobs as part of a realignment of its U.S. sales force.

The software maker is cutting 214 positions, including telesales and marketing jobs at its Redmond, Wash., headquarters as well as other positions in its field offices and in its public sector sales unit.

"They are aligning their organization to be more efficient and responsive to their customers," Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos said. Microsoft began notifying affected workers of the cuts on Wednesday.

The software maker has never had large-scale, across-the-board layoffs, though it has made selective job cuts in various business units in the past. In 2002, for example, Microsoft axed more than 100 posts as it restructured its UltimateTV unit.

In addition to the job losses, Microsoft is creating 66 new positions, largely ones with more direct customer interaction.

Those whose jobs are being lost have been encouraged to consider one of the new positions or another opportunity within Microsoft. If they haven't found a new role within a certain period of time, they will be given standard severance packages.

The job cuts were noted earlier Thursday by Microsoft Watch.