Hard to know exactly how seriously to take this: It is marked in a number of places (seen here via the Slog, twice removed) somewhat as rumor, and yet the details of a mass layoff at Microsoft seem quite specific:
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 January 15th. 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).
The source is described as ordinarily sound but not entirely reliable. But, as we begin 2009, something to watch for.