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Microsoft to take on Apple with own Windows 8 tablet?

Tech titan is doing something highly unusual -- making its own device. And thereby taking on Apple directly, according to reports.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read
A future Lenovo Windows 8 tablet.
A future Lenovo Windows 8 tablet. CNET Asia

Microsoft will announce its own tablet next week at an event in Los Angeles, according to reports, taking a page from Apple's playbook.

If true, this is not the typical Microsoft business model; usually it leaves device announcements to device makers. The PC industry is the classic example of this.

And, so far, that has been the case for Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets. Companies like Acer and Asus demonstrated Windows 8 tablets and hybrids at Computex last week, for instance.

But a report at The Wrap and another at AllThingsD say Microsoft has other plans.

Microsoft reportedly concluded that it must have its own tablet and is involved in the hardware design too. The Wrap reported it is a "Microsoft-manufactured tablet," that would "put the company in direct competition with giant rival Apple."

Indeed, if true, it would. Apple designs both the software and hardware and therefore is able to achieve a level of quality control over a product that often eludes Microsoft and its hardware partners.

A Microsoft tablet has the potential to rankle Windows device makers, too. Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, Nokia and a long list of other PC makers are working on scores of Window 8 and Windows RT tablets and hybrids. Many are likely to debut when Microsoft release Windows 8 later this year.

Microsoft infamously canceled it Courier tablet project in 2010.

Microsoft declined to comment.