Perhaps it's all in the definition of "lay off"? See Cringely's update, IBM is right, I am a gadfly, for additional speculation
"Calling it "ridiculous" and "baseless," IBM on Monday dismissed a report that said the technology giant plans to lay off 1 in 4 of its workers, or 100,000 people.IBM denies it will lay off a quarter of its workforce - San Jose Mercury News
The company "flatly denies" the Forbes report, IBM spokesman Ian Colley said in a phone interview. IBM previously has announced layoffs affecting "several thousand people," only "a small fraction" of the number predicted last week by a blogger on Forbes.com, IBM said in a statement."