Vague rumors of Microsoft layoffs have gathered strength with one site making specific claims. If the source is to be believed, 15,000 will lose their jobs on Jan. 15.
While there have been rumors of job losses for several weeks, there hasn’t been a great deal of detail to the gossip. Frankly, given the economic climate, you don’t really need any inside sources to work out that Microsoft layoffs are a possibility.
However, the news site Fudzilla now says it has specific details which come from Microsoft employees:
Currently Microsoft employs about 90,000 people across the world and from what we’re hearing, some 15,000 of those are expected to be giving marching orders come Jan. 15. That’s almost 17 percent of Microsoft’s total work force, not exactly a small number.
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).
It’s notable that the reported layoff date comes one week before Microsoft announces its half-year financial figures. When public firms report poor figures, they often try to soften the blow by explaining how things will get better. While large-scale job cuts are hardly good news, and not necessarily a long-term solution, such a massive reduction in spending might ease the concerns of worried stockholders.
However, many rival news sites are skeptical of the reports. Internetnews.com points out that Microsoft can’t have officially told all staff about any specific details: stock market laws mean the firm would have to make such news public within 24 hours of such a communication. Given that the details of any layoffs would likely be confined to senior management at the moment, you have to question whether those people would really have a motive to leak the info.
That said, Microsoft is certainly tightening its belt at the moment. The Seattle Times reports that the MSN Homepages division has just cancelled the contracts of 180 outside contractors.