IBM has blamed weak demand in the European market for its decision to axe up to 13,000 staff.
The firm, which employed 329,000 staff at the end of 2004, last week revealed the job cuts, more than two-thirds of which will occur in Germany, the UK, Italy and France. It had already transferred an additional 10,000 employees to Lenovo when it acquired Big Blue's PC division in December as part of a $1.25bn deal completed last week.
Mark Loughridge, chief financial officer at IBM, said during a web cast that the job cuts, which will be a mixture of voluntary and involuntary redundancies, have been under examination since its first quarter results came out last month.
"There is no longer a need for a pan-European management level. We are pushing more decision-making responsibility down through the management structure to client-facing teams. Changing our operating model enables us to make high-value offerings and overcome competitive threats," he said.
But many channel players seemed unconcerned by the job cuts. Kevin Drew, managing director of ISV Triangle, said: "This should be positive for IBM's UK channel partners and make IBM a more flexible machine to deal with."
Paddy Lawton, managing director of Digital Union, said: "To strip out management layers and have tighter regional controls would be good for partners. This could make it easier for us to work over broader regions."
Pretax charges, including redundancy allowances, will cost the firm up to $1.7bn and it said the "realignment" of its European operations will also help to improve its speed of execution to better meet the needs of end-users.
Ian Wesley, IBM research director at Ovum, said: "This won't mean fewer opportunities for channel partners. They shouldn't be worried by the announcement."
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