Rumor has latest round of IBM layoffs reaching as many as 15k, but company isn't confirming much

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By Michelle Goodman

Reports of big layoffs at IBM began to emerge late on Wednesday although the company is not confirming specifics. 

ITJungle reported rumors of total job North American cuts ranging from several thousand to 13,000 to 15,000. But IBM continues to remain tight-lipped about the number of layoffs occurring.

WRAL TechWire reported that IBM said it was executing a "workforce rebalancing." The company denied rumors it would cut as many as one third of its U.S. workers, WRAL TechWire reported.

Commenting by email, a company spokesperson said, "IBM is aggressively transforming its business to lead in a new era of cognitive and cloud computing. This includes remixing skills to meet client requirements." The company noted it hiring around 25,000 people. 

Many of these open positions are with teams working on cloud computing, analytics and Internet of Things initiatives, WRAL TechWire reported.

According to Business Insider, IBM hired as many people as it lost last year. Between attrition, layoffs and retirement, IBM cut more than 70,000 people from its employee roster in 2015, a Business Insider investigation found. At the end of the year, the company's worldwide headcount was 377,757.

This latest round of layoffs is part of IBM's campaign to position itself as a leader in cloud computing and machine learning.

Just yesterday, IBM released a study that touted the financial and productivity benefits of moving to a hybrid cloud computing environment. 

Last month, the company continued its Watson buying spree, spending $2.6 billion to acquire Truven Health Analytics, a provider of cloud-based healthcare data and analytics. Truven is one of four major health-data acquisitions IBM has made since launching Watson's health unit in April 2015. It's also one of eight Watson-related acquisitions the company has made since 2014.

For more:
- see the WRAL TechWire report
- see ITJungle's report

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