Rumor Mill: Is Microsoft designing an iPhone-killer for Verizon?

Microsoft is in discussions with Verizon Wireless to produce a touchscreen multimedia phone running its Windows Mobile platform as a rival to Apple's iPhone, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, a development that adds yet another layer to the rumors swirling around Verizon's future device plans.

The device, which is code-named "Pink," will have additional software capabilities and feature Microsoft's Windows Marketplace for Mobile, according to the Journal, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter. A third party is expected to actually produce the hardware for the phone.

There have been rumors in the past about a project dubbed "Pink," a possible Microsoft smartphone based on the software giant's Zune digital music player. The rumors indicated that the phone would use technology from Microsoft's acquisition of Danger, the company that brought the Sidekick to T-Mobile USA.

In a separate development, VentureBeat reported that Verizon Wireless has a new job opening: "Android Devices Expert." The job description focuses mainly on Java technology, but also includes "experience with Android" among the employer's preferences. The position possibly indicates that Verizon Wireless is gearing up to join T-Mobile USA in offering an Android phone. The carrier hasn't made any official announcements along those lines, however.

The Windows and Android action follows on the heels of several missives (all citing anonymous sources) that Apple may produce a CDMA version of the iPhone (as reported by USA Today) or that alternatively Verizon and Apple will partner on two "iPhone-like" devices (as reported by BusinessWeek). Verizon COO and President Denny Strigl said on the company's first quarter earnings call that Verizon has "historically" not been dependent on any single device. 

For more:
- see this Microsoft article (sub. req.)
- see this article (sub. req.)
- see this article
- see this job posting

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