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Axe to fall on Microsoft employees?

Job cut rumours start to circulate.

Microsoft is keeping tight lipped on speculation that it may cull as many as 15,000 employees later this month.

It may not turn out to be a very Happy New Year for some of the software giant's employees if rumours of these mass-scale job cuts are to be believed.

Fudzilla reckons the company will shed staff on 15 January, suggesting that it'll be workers at MSN and in Microsoft's ranks in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) that will bear the brunt of the chop.

"Staff at Microsoft have been informed that the company is readying major layoffs to its worldwide operations and it's not a small cut, either," claims the site.

"The layoffs will take place a week before Microsoft's Q2 earnings report, which takes place on the 22nd of January 2009, and it doesn't seem like the date set for the layoffs is coincidental."

A Microsoft spokesman told IT PRO that the company does not comment on rumour or speculation.

While Microsoft is keeping mum on whether the job cuts will occur even in part, industry experts suspect the figures mooted thus far seem too big.

"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 costThe only way we could see Microsoft laying off this many people is if the company decided to eliminate business units Microsoft just hired a new head of MSN, and it is certainly possible that he will make some cuts. But 15,000 sounds extreme," Henry Blodget wrote in a post in response to the rumours on the Silicon Alley Insider website.

"Could Microsoft trim some fat in two weeks? Absolutely. But a 17 per cent cut is more than fat."

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