Reports: Microsoft to produce tablet computer, compete with iPad

SEATTLE - Microsoft is being very secretive about a 'major' announcement planned for Monday in Los Angeles. However the New York Times reported Friday that the announcement will likely be that the company plans to introduce its answer to the Apple iPad.

The Times reported: "On Monday, Microsoft is expected to introduce a tablet computer of its own design that runs a new version of its Windows operating system, according to people with knowledge of Microsoft's plans who declined to be named discussing confidential matters. It's the first time in the company's 37-year-old history that it will offer a computer of its own creation."

Microsoft invited media to an afternoon event on Monday, but it says it won't divulge the location until that morning. In an email, the company says, "This will be a major Microsoft announcement - you will not want to miss it."

Microsoft declined further comment.

Frank Shaw, a Microsoft spokesman, also declined to comment to the New York Times on the tablet computer speculation.

Initially the venue for the announcement suggested to some that it would have to do with the entertainment industry. Some tech journalists speculated the company would be announcing that it was buying online movie and television content distributor Hulu.

In recent months Microsoft Corp. has made more TV programming available on its Xbox 360 video game console. Netflix Inc. is among the offerings on the Xbox, and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is on Microsoft's board.

Microsoft is preparing to release a new operating system, Windows 8, that works across laptop computers, tablets and even televisions.

A Microsoft tablet running the new Windows 8 operating system could been seen as competing directly with many of the company's traditional hardware partners including Samsung, Acer and Lenovo. Each of those companies is widely believed to be preparing its own tablet computer to run Windows 8.

Several tech blogs, including All Things D and The Wrap, first reported the tablet rumors Thursday.