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Microsoft plans April 12 mystery event

Software maker won't say what it has planned for upcoming event in San Francisco. CNET's Ina Fried thinks it might be a Microsoft-designed consumer phone.

Pulling another page from Apple's playbook, Microsoft has sent out a cryptic invitation to lure reporters to an upcoming event, while offering almost no clue as to what will be introduced.

Microsoft logo

In this case, Microsoft has invited select reporters to an event on April 12 in San Francisco. Engadget appears to be first along the mail truck route from Redmond, Wash., so for now you will have to go there to see pictures of said invitation.

Microsoft is declining to comment, though I'd bet it has something to do with the mobile front. One possibility is the introduction of a Microsoft-designed consumer phone, which is on track to come out this year, ahead of the first Windows Phone 7 devices from other makers.

As interesting as what Microsoft has in store--OK, maybe not as interesting, but still noteworthy--is the evolution of Microsoft's consumer marketing to try to generate more buzz and a bit of a cool factor for its products.

For those keeping track of the lessons Microsoft appears to have learned from Cupertino, it's got better product naming, slick packaging, hip retail stores, and, now, mystery events.

Of course, Apple has its own mystery event in the coming days, where it is expected to introduce the next version of the iPhone OS.