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IBM wins $1 billion services deal

The tech titan signs on with financial services company AXA Group to consolidate its computers and data storage equipment, and provide "on demand" computing.

IBM on Friday signed a six-year, $1 billion outsourcing deal with financial services company AXA Group.

As part of the deal, IBM's Global Services Division will help the Paris-based company consolidate its computers and data storage equipment, and eventually will make arrangements for AXA to purchase computing power and storage capacity on a per-unit basis as those resources are needed, IBM said in a statement. AXA has about 140,000 employees worldwide.

The contract is similar to IBM's $2 billion deal with auto-parts maker Visteon, announced earlier this month, and a $5 billion contract with J.P. Morgan Chase, made public in December. IBM is looking to its services business to generate revenue in it own right as well as drive additional sales for its software and hardware divisions.

Meanwhile, IBM is eliminating some jobs--less than one-half of 1 percent of its total work force, according to an IBM representative--in its software and services units. The layoffs are likely meant to offset the high-tech heavyweight's acquisition of PricewaterhouseCoopers' consulting unit.

The AXA deal highlight's IBM's newly enunciated belief that the wave of the future for it and its customers is "on demand" computing--the delivery of computing power in the same manner that a utility delivers electricity or gas.

The French company expects to save hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of the six-year deal. It also has an option to extend the contract, IBM said.

Reuters contributed to this report.