Rumor: Microsoft to Lay Off 15,000

The technology website Fudzilla reports that Microsoft has told staff that 15,000 of the computer giant's 90,000 global workforce will be given pink slips on January 15. "The rumor that Microsoft was set to lay off people on January 15 is no longer a rumor but a fact,” the site reports. “So far, we haven't managed to confirm what departments or regions will be hit the worst, but we're hearing that MSN might be carrying the brunt of the layoffs. We're also hearing rumors about the possibility of somewhat larger staff cuts at Microsoft EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa).” According to Fudzilla, one Microsoft division “has cut their expected sales for 2009 by as much as 90 percent,” and the R&D division is being pared back “so we have a feeling that some of the more exotic projects might be put on ice.” Microsoft declined to comment, though Steve Ballmer, the company's chief executive, has a chance to confirm or deny the news at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week, where he is expected to release a new version of the Windows operating system.