15,000 jobs under threat at Microsoft as firm refuses to deny blog rumour

Fears were growing last week that Microsoft would announce up to 15,000 job cuts this Thursday (15 January) as the global economic crisis continues to deepen.

The software giant was refusing to deny claims made by technology blog Fudzilla that it was set to axe 17% of its global workforce ahead of releasing its second quarter earnings results on 22 January.

It would be the first major jobs cull in the firm’s 32-year history, and could affect hundreds of UK-based staff. The speculation followed a raft of redundancies at big-name companies in recent weeks, including retailer Marks & Spencer and banking giant Barclays.

Thousands more jobs remain at risk after several household names went into administration, including music retailer Zavvi, and ceramics and glassware firm Waterford Wedgwood.

A Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) report earlier this month warned that the impact of the recession on employment was far from over.

The institute predicted that a further 600,000 jobs would go this year, pushing the total number of people out of work beyond two million.

The report, A False Economy: the cost to employers of redundancy, said: “With the economy experiencing what is expected to be the sharpest economic downturn since the recession of the early 1990s, redundancy is again on the rise.”

Latest official figures showed 1.86m people were unemployed in the three months to October 2008, the highest number in more than a decade.

The CIPD report added: “Organisations may need to make people redundant simply to avoid going out of business, or indeed because they do go out of business.”

A Microsoft spokesman refused to comment on the rumoured redundancies at the firm. “The reports on job losses are speculation and we cannot comment further,” he told Personnel Today.

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