Is Microsoft Firing 15,000 People on January 15?

Jan 2, 2009

There is speculation that Microsoft will lay off close to 15,000 people — or 17% of its global workforce — in two weeks.

Silicon Alley Insider blogger Henry Blodget notes that “unless Microsoft’s business has been absolutely crushed in the past two months, there is no reason for the company to suddenly cut this much cost.”

Yet it’s difficult to ignore the heated rumors swirling about the company. One report indicates that hot markets (the Xbox 360 team, etc.) are safe, while weaker markets (MSN, Microsoft EMEA, etc.) will suffer job-cut casualties.

Another report tries to connect the dots from rumors spilled online (one poster says “around 70+ people were given 6 weeks to find another position within the company, otherwise they are laid off,” while another poster says “People are pulled into meetings with management where they get interrogated about what they are working on…given impossible tasks like coding things not yet designed…on top of that they must account for their time by the hour.”

If these reports are true, and lay-offs occur on January 15, the cuts would be the first official layoffs in Microsoft’s history. The company’s second-quarter earnings report is scheduled for January 22.

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