Today is January 15, 2009, the rumored date for Microsoft to announce huge layoffs, but that just has not happened. What we do have is a story from the Wall Street Journal that suggests that Microsoft layoffs might be coming next week, albeit not necessarily on the scale previously rumored:
Microsoft Corp. is seriously exploring significant work force reductions that could be announced as early as next week, in a sign that the weak economy is prompting tough decisions even at one of the steadiest ships in the technology industry.
According to people familiar with its plans, the Redmond, Wash., giant is considering layoffs across its various divisions, a rare occurrence for the world’s largest software company. However, plans for the cutbacks are still in flux and Microsoft could end up finding alternative methods of reining in costs, one of these people said.
Not exactly crisp, eh? Microsoft’s earnings report is due next Thursday, January 22, but even then layoffs don’t have to be tied to that announcement. More to the point, while companies find economic hard times to be a convenient excuse for performing overdue headcount reductions, it’s not clear that Microsoft’s business has declined enough to make anything more than selective pruning necessary as a sop to the shareholders.