According to an article in the Dallas Morning News, Microsoft Corp. will implement 5,000 job losses over the next 18 months representing more than 5 percent of its 94,000 employee work force. For everyone Microsoft was a real surprise.

No one expected the very powerful and seemingly ever expanding company to actually experience any major job losses. A matter of fact, according to the article, it’s the first time Microsoft has had significant job losses since it was first founded in 1975.

That said (emphasis added):

“We’re certainly in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime set of economic conditions. The perspective I would bring is not one of recession. Rather, the economy is resetting to lower level of business and consumer spending based largely on the reduced leverage in economy,” said Chief Executive Steve Ballmer during a conference call. For consumers, that may mean less discretionary income to spend on a second or third home computer, he said.

In other words, Ballmer seems to be saying that he doesn’t expect the economy to recover to the level of business and consumer spending we’ve seen the last 10 years. He seems to be suggesting that this reset may be a little more “permanent” than analysts would like to openly admit. Maybe this economic reset is why Microsoft is implementing drastic job losses. Could they be preparing for the long haul?

The Microsoft job losses will affect workers in research and development, marketing, sales, finance, legal and corporate affairs, human resources and information technology, and mostly in Redmond, Wash. mostly sparing Microsoft’s 1500 Texas based employees.