According to numerous reports that is exactly what is being suggested. If the axe does fall, then it will be the first time that the company has had to make any really major cuts in the workforce during it's 32 year history.
Of course, there has been no official confirmation or indeed denial from Microsoft, but some analysts expect it to make some sort of comment at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week to try and put a stop to the ongoing rumour and speculation.
Personally, I doubt that we will hear anything but technology news from Microsoft at CES. Not least more about Windows 7 and possibly some upbeat news concerning the troubled Zune. There might even be an official announcement about the new Jasper-enabled Xbox 360 that has already started quietly appearing in shops.
I expect that any news of layoffs will have to wait until the end of the month after the company releases the second quarter results on January 22nd. Again, others insist that the announcement will come the week before those results are made public.
Whatever, the rumours persist, with some technology websites claiming insider knowledge and stating that Microsoft staff have been informed to expect major layoffs on a worldwide basis. MSN is said to be the most likely to be hit hardest, along with staff employed in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa.)
Most likely I reckon there will be some job losses, but certainly nothing like the 15,000 being reported. If that is the case, of course, then Microsoft is in some serious trouble.