Computer software giant Microsoft has revealed even worse than expected quarterly results and warned that profit and revenue will almost certainly drop through the next two quarters.It is going to lay off up to 5,000 people over the next year and a half. Chief Executive Steve Ballmer called it a response to “the realities of a deteriorating economy.” In Microsoft’s biggest ever cuts, five percent of its estimated 96,000 work force will go. Sales worldwide have been hit by PC buyers moving to smaller stripped-down laptops called netbooks. They use open-source Linux software or older, cheaper Microsoft operating systems which means less profit. By contrast, Microsoft’s rival Apple this week posted better than expected results.