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‘Major’ Microsoft announcement in Los Angeles

- Associated Press - Monday, June 18, 2012

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Microsoft has unveiled Surface, a tablet computer to compete with Apple's iPad.

CEO Steve Ballmer was on hand to announce the tablet, calling it part of a "whole new family of devices" the company is developing.

The 9.3 millimeter thick tablet comes with a kickstand to hold it upright and keyboard that is part of the device's cover. It weighs under 1.5 pounds.

Steven Sinofsky, the president of Microsoft's Windows division, called the device a "tablet that's a great PC _a PC that's a great tablet."

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Microsoft is expected to make a "major" announcement Monday. Speculation about the Los Angeles media event is that the company plans to unveil either a tablet computer or a system that uses an upcoming version of Windows to help people access TV shows and movies across a range of devices.

The intrigue deepened when the company, which had withheld the location of the event until Monday morning, announced it would be held at Milk Studios, the photography studio of a media company with locations in New York.

A Microsoft-branded tablet wouldn't come as a complete surprise. In April, Microsoft announced a $300 million, 17.6 percent stake in Barnes & Noble's Nook e-book business.

Microsoft Corp.'s next operating system, Windows 8, is designed to run desktop, laptop and tablet computers. PC makers are hoping it offers them a better chance to compete with Apple Inc.'s iPad. Windows 8 is expected to be released in September or October, in time for devices that ship for the holiday season.

"This will be a major Microsoft announcement _ you will not want to miss it," the company said in an email invite to the media on Thursday. A company spokesman declined to comment further.

The event is set to start at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time.

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