Microsoft developing own smartphone - report

Windows maker plotting iPhone rival following launch of Surface.

Microsoft is set to enter the smartphone market with a handset of its own, a new report suggests.

The Windows Phone maker is currently working with Asian component suppliers to test the new smartphone, a Wall Street Journal investigation revealed.

A move into the smartphone hardware market would see Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer again butting heads with Apple.

It follows the launch of Microsoft Surface, the company's range of Windows 8 tablets set to challenge the dominance of Apple's iPad.

Early details of the Microsoft phone handset are hazy but suggest a device with a larger screen than the iPhone 5. Microsoft's model could be as large as five inches - up to an inch bigger than the iPhone 5 and even bigger than the 4.8-inch Samsung Galaxy S3.

"We're quite happy this holiday going to market hard with Nokia, Samsung and HTC," a tight-lipped Ballmer said. "Whether we had a plan to do something different or we didn't have a plan I wouldn't comment in any dimension."

Microsoft's Surface tablet is set to go head-to-head with Apple's iPad.

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