US search giant AOL is preparing to lay off about 1,300 employees, or 7% of its worldwide workforce, an Associated Press report said.
The report said the other cuts would come from call centers in Ogden, Utah, and Tucson, Arizona .
The layoffs represented the first major cuts since the Time Warner Internet unit slashed about 700 positions last fall, the report also said.
The report said that although AOL's subscription had been declining, spokesman Nicholas Graham attributed the layoffs to more savvy customers and better tools for them to help themselves.
"The Internet world of 2006 is very different from the world of 1996 when AOL first established these member centers," Graham said. "Today, AOL members are more savvy and sophisticated online. They are very different members today than they were in 1996."
In its early days, AOL had a reputation for attracting beginners, leading some long-time users to deride the service as the "Internet on training wheels."
But AOL dropped some of its hand-holding over the years and began offering its subscribers computer-diagnosis, anti-spyware and other free software, "allowing them to troubleshoot on their own," Graham said, according to the report.