Is Microsoft developing their own smartphone?

Technology giant Microsoft only recently released their Windows 8 operating system, and while the company is known for its software, there are rumours that Microsoft is exploring the possibilities of developing their own Windows-based smartphone.

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer (image: Tonis Tech Blog)

The Microsoft-branded device has not been confirmed as being in development by anyone at Microsoft, but according to the Wall Street Journal, the company is working with component suppliers in Asia to test its own smartphone design.

The decision to produce its own smartphone brings Microsoft closer to the business model of rival Apple, which has made great strides in producing phones, computers and a variety of software packages.

“Officials at some of Microsoft’s parts suppliers, who declined to be named, said the Redmond, Wash.-based company is testing a smartphone design but isn’t sure if a product will go into mass production,” The Wall Street Journal wrote.

Sources who spoke to WSJ on condition of anonymity said that the screen will be between four and five inches in size, which puts it in line with Apple’s 5-inch iPhone 5.

If Microsoft brings out their own smartphone, it will be the first time they develop their own hardware, except for their Surface tablet that is scheduled for release later this year.

In an interview with WSJ Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer declined to comment on the rumours, “We’re quite happy this holiday [season] going to market hard with Nokia, Samsung and HTC. Whether we had a plan to do something different or we didn’t have a plan, I wouldn’t comment in any dimension,” he said.

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor