Earlier this year, in January, Microsoft announced their first large-scale round of layoffs in 32-years of history - a sign of how even the biggest and most profitable companies are being stung to some degree by the recession. The company said it would cut up to 5,000 jobs over the following 18 months, and began by eliminating 1,400 positions across a number of divisions at that time.

Today, continuing with its efforts to cut costs, Microsoft has announced a second wave of layoffs that will affect some 3,000 employees in the United Stated and abroad. In an email sent to the company's staff, CEO Steve Ballmer described the layoffs as difficult news to share, adding that they are "mostly but not all done with the planned 5,000 job eliminations." He said the company is closely monitoring the economic downturn and is prepared to take further action, including more layoffs, if things continue to be bad.

Microsoft has also committed to re-hiring as soon as the economic meltdown eases, however, and apparently plans to hire 2,000 to 3,000 workers this year in some growing areas of focus, such as its online services business.