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Microsoft ponders phone handset

Software giant draws up secondary plan for market changer

Microsoft ponders phone handset
Microsoft's proprietary device would be intended to counter any possible market missteps by partner products such as Nokia's Lumia handset.

Microsoft Corporation has plans to build handsets if its current partner strategy fails to increase its share of the smartphone market, Bloomberg reports.

While unidentified insiders claimed Microsoft remained confident of consumer wins through hardware partners like Nokia and HTC, they said the software giant is keen to gain traction on the hardware project so it can bring the new devices to market quickly if Windows Phone 8 devices such as the Nokia Lumia 920 and the HTC 8X are unable to snatch market share from rivals carrying Google and Apple operating systems.

"We are big believers in our hardware partners and together we're focused on bringing Windows Phone 8 to market with them," Microsoft said in an emailed statement.

But the Redmond-based company has already flirted with hardware design. The Surface, Microsoft's own tablet, is believed to be a response to its PC hardware partners' inability to compete in the tablet market. While the insiders indicated that the same level of concern did not yet exist for smartphones, CEO Steve Ballmer has, in the past, notably refused to rule out the building of a handset and hinted at future device projects in his annual letter to shareholders last month.

"This is a significant shift, both in what we do and how we see ourselves: as a devices and services company," Ballmer wrote.

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