ARMONK, N.Y. (AP) _ IBM Corp. is slashing 300 software jobs in a realignment of resources that has been happening periodically at the technology titan, executives said Wednesday.

The cuts affect fewer than 1 percent of IBM's 38,000 software employees and a tiny percentage of the company's 320,000 people overall. But they follow similar actions recently _ IBM cut 400 software jobs in September and 200 in November.

IBM spokesman Tim Breuer said the latest cuts arose as Big Blue decided to reduce the number of people making face-to-face sales calls and increase the number making pitches by phone or the Internet.

Breuer said the change was needed because phone and Internet sales solicitations are used much more to reach small and medium-sized businesses, the fastest-growing segment of IBM's software group. He said the new phone and Web sales positions will all be in the United States, and not outsourced overseas. He did not say how many jobs would be added.

Affected employees can apply for other positions in IBM, which continues to hire in selected areas, he added.

Lee Conrad, who heads the AllianceAtIBM, a division of the Communications Workers of America union that is trying to organize IBM employees, said he believes even deeper cuts are planned throughout the company.

IBM spokesman John Bukovinsky denied that, though he said about 100 services positions are expected to be chopped this week as contracts with IBM customers come to an end.

IBM shares fell 28 cents to close at $92.78 in trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.