As Microsoft continues to prepare for the upcoming release of its Windows 7 operating system, the software giant announced Tuesday it will eliminate up to 5,000 jobs by June next year.

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, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told employees via e-mail.

The Redmond-based company did not offer a specific number, but Ballmer's memo says the latest move means that Microsoft is mostly but not all done with the planned 5,000 job eliminations.

Ballmer's statement suggests that the latest job cuts will affect more than 3,000 people, as the company eliminated 1,400 positions in the first phase of layoffs.

This is difficult news to share. Because our success at Microsoft has always been the direct result of the talent, hard work, and commitment of our people, eliminating positions is hard, Ballmer said.