Update: The Seattle Times has received a statement from Microsoft confirming there will be layoffs in its marketing divisions but would not confirm any specific numbers. However, the Seattle Times did say that up to 200 employees could be affected, according to their own sources.
Original story: In January, rumors hit the Internet that Microsoft was planning to restructure its marketing divisions. The reports claimed that the ultimate result of those changes could be the loss of hundreds of jobs at the company. Today, ZDNet.com report via unnamed sources that Microsoft's marketing layoffs could be starting as early as today.
The story claims that most of the layoffs will affect Microsoft's Central Marketing Group but that some layoffs will happen in the marketing departments of other divisions such as Server and Tools and Windows Phone. One Microsoft marketing team member, Commercial and Communications Sector Lead Maher Al-Khaiyat, made a post on his Twitter page today that Microsoft planned to announce major layoffs but that Twitter message has since been deleted.
In 2011, Microsoft reportedly spent $13.9 billion on marketing. However, these new layoffs are reportedly being ordered for the marketing division to eliminate some job overlap and also to better respond to its competitors such as Apple.
If these layoffs do in fact happen, it would only be the second time in the company's history that Microsoft made the decision to give a large amount of its team members pink slips. In 2009, at the height of the economic crisis, Microsoft laid off a total of 5,000 employees.
Image via ZDnet