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IBM lays off employees in software group

Big Blue lays off around 200 employees as part of its ongoing effort to reduce costs. Employees in about two-dozen locations in the United States are affected.

IBM is laying off approximately 200 employees in its software group in its ongoing effort to reduce costs.

The layoffs represent about 0.5 percent of the total 38,000 employees Big Blue has in the software organization, IBM spokesman John Reilly said Thursday. The layoffs are occurring in about two-dozen locations in the United States, and come from a variety of different divisions in the group. Many of the job cuts affect marketing, finance and support positions.

The Armonk, N.Y., computing giant said in October that it needed to add nearly 10,000 new positions to its work force in 2004 to continue to grow. In the most recent quarter, the company's revenue climbed to $21.5 billion, about 9 percent higher than the year before.

Still, in the meantime, IBM has been periodically purging employees from different divisions. While the cuts are small in the overall scheme of the company, they are adding up. In October, IBM cut 720 positions in its services group and 380 in the software division. In August, 600 employees were let go in its semiconductor unit.

The four layoffs together come to a reduction of 1,900 positions. In 2002, IBM laid of 15,000 employees. In all, IBM employs around 180,000 people in the United States and 315,000 worldwide.

Employees affected by the cuts will be able to apply for new jobs within IBM, Reilly said.