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Microsoft proceeds with layoff plans

Microsoft has sent layoff notices to more than 3,000 workers, almost completing plans announced in January to fire some 5,000 workers, the company said Tuesday.

Microsoft had already cut 1,400 positions when it made the announcement of the first mass layoffs in its history. In an email to workers Tuesday, Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer indicated that further job cuts could be needed.

"As we move forward, we will continue to closely monitor the impact of the economic downturn on the company and if necessary, take further actions on our cost structure including additional job eliminations," Ballmer said in the memo.

While most of the original firings were in the US, the latest round was split evenly between the US and the company's international branches. Microsoft said it plans to create between 2,000 and 3,000 jobs between now and the middle of next year, many of which could be filled by the laid off workers.