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Most of the job losses, about 4% of IBM's total workforce, will hit the group's European operations as the firm looks to focus on high-growth markets.
The move will lead to a one-off pre-tax charge of between $1.3bn (£684m) and $1.7bn, the company added.
The company employs 100,000 staff in Europe, with about 25,000 of those working in the United Kingdom.
The extent of the job cuts in the UK is not yet clear, although there are fears that 2,800 staff at the company's centre in Greenock, Scotland could be among the worst affected.
The news comes just weeks after IBM reported worse-than-expected earnings in the first quarter.
The New York-based firm blamed a failure to close business deals and slow economic growth in key European markets.