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Microsoft To Trim Sales Work Force

Microsoft Corp. is cutting 148 total U.S. sales jobs, as part of efforts to be more efficient, the company said Thursday.

Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos said the software company is eliminating 214 sales jobs but adding another 66 in the reorganization. Employees whose jobs are being eliminated will have the option to apply for the new positions, Gellos said.

The Redmond-based company said the job cuts and new positions are aimed at helping the company be more responsive to customers.

Microsoft has recently made a number of organizational changes aimed at making the company more nimble and efficient. The changes come amid growing threats from companies that provide Web-based software for tasks traditionally done by Microsoft's largely desktop-bound applications. The reorganizations have largely sought to help the company make decisions more quickly.

In general, Microsoft has been bulking up its work force. It currently employs about 70,000 employees worldwide, up from more than 63,000 as of last September. It also recently announced a set of new employee benefits, such as enhanced child-care benefits and better cafeteria food, that many saw as an effort to boost employee morale and loyalty.

But the company has made small cuts to save money or eliminate workers. Last week, it said it is eliminating 14 jobs in the Microsoft Learning division, and will instead have an outside vendor perform that work.

And in May, it told about 1,000 technology contract workers to take seven days off the job, without Microsoft pay, because the company wanted to save money.

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