Microsoft's second-quarter results, due on Thursday, are widely expected to show a shortfall in the company's own targets, and analysts are predicting that major job losses will follow.
A weak quarterly profit would prove that even the biggest tech giants are not immune to the financial crisis, which has already led many to cut back on staff and projects.
Microsoft had forecast a per-share profit of between 51c and 53c (37p and 38p) for the quarter, but analysts believe that the figure is more likely to be 49c (35p).
Microsoft also predicted that it would post quarterly revenue of between $17.3bn and $17.8bn (£12.5bn and £12.9bn), but Wall Street analysts say that the figure is likely to be closer to $17.1bn (£12.4bn), owing to weak consumer sales of Microsoft software. Shares in the software giant have likewise slumped 41 per cent over the past year.
In order to relieve some financial pressure, many analysts believe that Microsoft may now lay off 6,000 to 8,000 employees, some six to eight per cent of its global workforce. Redundancies may also come hand-in-hand with other, more targeted cost reductions.
Many observers are also looking to see whether Microsoft might seek to reignite some sort of search partnership with Yahoo, particularly since the troubled web firm has just appointed a new chief executive in Carol Bartz. Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has made several allusions to the possibility over the past few months.
Yahoo faces problems of its own, however, admitting this week that it will have to axe about 52 of its 251 French employees from its Paris and Grenoble sites. The restructuring will take the toughest toll on Yahoo's engineering staff, as its French sites employ significantly more engineers than other locations.
The layoffs are something of an embarrassment for Yahoo, which only opened its Grenoble R&D facility in September.
Along with IBM, which posted strong results yesterday, Apple appears to be one of the few technology giants managing to stay bouyant during the financial crisis. While Microsoft is set to see its revenues sink, Apple is predicted to report a robust $9.76bn (£7.09bn) in revenue, with healthy earnings of $1.38 (£1) per share later today.
Also, while the US PC market fell 3.5 per cent compared with the previous year, Apple's shipments grew 7.5 per cent, thanks most probably to the firm's Mac division, which celebrates its 25th anniversary on 24 January.
But Apple is not entirely immune to the credit crisis. Year-over-year growth of 13 per cent is considerably slower than in previous quarters.
US space agency believes the crater could have preserved ancient organic molecules from the water that flowed there billions of years ago
Valve quietly closes down hardware initiatives launched following Windows 8
Scientists create a virtual reality simulation of a black hole sitting at the centre of the Milky Way
Simulations like this can help people understand complicated systems in the universe in a better way
The most luminous galaxy ever discovered is cannibalising at least three of its smaller neighbours, study finds
The galaxy radiates at 350 trillion times the luminosity of the Sun