I've been hearing the same thing that Dina Bass of Bloomberg has -- that Microsoft is planning to make headcount cuts, largely affecting its marketing organization some time soon.
Bass reported on January 11 that Microsoft is "making plans for a companywide restructuring of its marketing operations, a move that may include hundreds of job cuts."
One of my contacts said 40 percent of the Central Marketing Group (CMG) could be chopped -- a number which seemed crazily high to me. CMG drives all the marketing and communications across all Microsoft businesses and products around the world.
Update: Maybe the 40 percent cut isn't as crazy as it sounds. Another of my contacts says that CMG has about 600 full time employees at present, plus more than 2,000 outside contractors on the payroll.
Another of my contacts said the coming cuts should be thought of more as a "pruning" than a chopping.
Among the rumors I've heard is both Windows Phone and the Server and Tools business will be re-org'd and possibly take some of the marketing headcount losses. At the end of last year, Microsoft announced a change in leadership in Windows Phone. And Robert Wahbe, the head of Server and Tools Marketing, is leaving the company in February, I reported earlier this week.
Microsoft officials are not commenting on the rumored cuts or reorgs. But with Microsoft due to report earnings for its second fiscal quarter on January 19, word could trickle down soon. (It's mid-year review time at Microsoft right now, as its fiscal year begins on June 1.)
Microsoft cut 5,000 jobs three years ago, with CEO Steve Ballmer saying at that time that he couldn't guarantee there might not be further cuts at some time.