Microsoft Manufacturing Tablet to Rival Apple iPad, Says Insider (Exclusive)

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Microsoft will hold a news conference on Monday where the branded tablet is expected to be unveiled

Microsoft is set to unveil a tablet next week that will mark its entry into rival Apple’s territory with its own branded product, TheWrap has learned.

The company has scheduled a secretive event for Monday at 3:30 p.m. June 18 in Los Angeles, where it will make a "major" announcement whose nature has not been disclosed. Even the venue has not yet been announced.

But an individual with knowledge of the company said that Microsoft would introduce a Microsoft-manufactured tablet at the event, marking a foray into a new hardware category that would put the company in direct competition with giant rival Apple.

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Microsoft did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Rumors have surfaced that Microsoft's new tablet will run on Windows RT, a version of Windows 8 that uses an ARM microprocessor.

In 2011 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (above) discussed the ARM chip technology.

Microsoft has created a multibillion-dollar market with the Xbox, the premiere gaming console that has evolved into a leading entertainment delivery device.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who once embraced the stylus, has experimented with tablet technology for the better part of a decade. Previously, Microsoft-enabled tablets have been made by hardware manufacturers such as Samsung and Hewlett-Packard.