Microsoft planning 15k job cuts on January 15th?

Microsoft are reportedly planning to lay off 15,000 members of staff, almost 17 percent of its 90,000 employees worldwide.  The cuts are predominantly expected to affect the company's MSN division, and be announced on January 15; that's one week prior to the publication of Microsoft's Q2 earnings report. 

Staff in Microsoft's EMEA division (Europe, Middle East and Africa) will apparently be heavier hit than their American counterparts, but right now there's no confirmation on who exactly will – or won't – be affected.  One department presumed relatively safe is the gaming division, buoyed by healthy Xbox 360 sales.

According to research firm NPD, Xbox 360 holiday sales rose 8 percent in 2008 over the 2007 period.  In contrast, sales of Sony's PS3 fell 19-percent from the previous year.

[via Joystiq]