Apple makes the iPhone. We all know that. Google depends on others to make Android smartphones, but that’s soon going to change now that the search giant owns Motorola. What’s Microsoft’s response to all this? According to the China Times, the company that brought you Windows and Office is going to launch a smartphone during the first half of 2013. Said device has been in development for the past four months.

Is this rumor credible? That’s tough to say. Microsoft did a fantastic job preventing the Surface from leaking. When it launches later this month, it’s going to be their first product that puts them in direct competition with the companies that have been depending on their software for decades. We know Microsoft has a tight relationship with Nokia and HTC with regards to Windows Phone, but the Microsoft brand is arguably stronger.

What does Microsoft have to lose by competing with Nokia, who has so far failed to turn Lumia into a success story; Samsung, who takes their flagship Android devices, spray paints them a different color, and calls them Windows Phones; and HTC, who can’t seem to make any money, despite making incredibly attractive products? The answer is nothing.

Now you might be wondering: Why are we covering this news item on Android Authority? Because if Microsoft decides to pull an Apple and become a vertical player, it’s going to push Google to do the same thing even faster. Remember, Google bought Android in 2005 because they were scared that Microsoft, with Windows Mobile, was going to become the dominant player in the mobile phone market. That’s a funny sentence in today’s world, but that still doesn’t change the fact that Google recognizes Microsoft’s ability to take over industries and lock out competitors.

We’ll be keeping an eye on this rumor. For what it’s worth, we actually like how the Surface looks. Imagine what that team could come up with if they made a smartphone!