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AOL is to slash 1700 jobs in a bid to make it more efficient, the Internet giant confirmed yesterday.

The cuts were widely predicted but much worse that reported previously.

Some 1200 jobs will go at the company's online operation. A further 500 jobs will be lost at its Netscape-Sun alliance.

The job losses will cost media giant parent, AOL Time Warner, between $100 million and $125 million in Q3 and are part of a major restructuring at the company.

Said AOL chairman and chief exec Barry Schuler: "This new organisation enables us to stay at the leading edge of the Internet's development and take full advantage of emerging growth opportunities in areas like broadband, online music and home networking.

"With the Internet poised to start its next chapter, we are better positioned than ever to deliver valuable new services to consumers and compelling new opportunities to our commerce partners.

"In the seven months since the merger, we have continued to identify new ways to leverage shared resources across AOL Time Warner and now we are putting them to work.

"Our new organisation will be even more nimble and flexible, while maximising the benefits of our size and scale," he said.

Despite yesterday's announcement, it's still unclear exactly where the axe will fall. No one from AOL UK was available for comment by press time to say whether the job cuts were restricted to the US, or whether workers in the UK or Europe were under threat. ®

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