Update: According to Information Week, Microsoft's official stance on this matter is still one of denial. The rumor was shot down by Microsoft's senior marketing manager for Windows Phone, Greg Sullivan. However even then, Information Week also reckons that Microsoft still stands a very high chance of getting into the mobile hardware business. That's if they decide to acquire their mobile partner, Nokia who is currently trading at slightly above US$2 per share.
This week, Microsoft revealed the secretive Windows RT and Windows 8 devices that showed the world what the Redmond giant can do. The devices were designed entirely in-house and were possibly built by external contract manufacturers. The tablets that have been showcased weren't actually seen as a move by Microsoft to start selling their own hardware, but rather to show manufacturers what Windows 8 was capable of, and to set the bar for future Windows 8 devices.
According to Business Insider, who quoted Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund, Microsoft isn't planning to stop there. Sherlund's industry sources have indicated that Microsoft may currently be doing the same for Windows Phone 8 devices. A Microsoft branded handset running Windows Phone 8 would serve well as a reference platform, or a go-to market product -- a back-up plan for in case Microsoft's biggest handset partner Nokia collapses.