Microsoft is gearing up to unveil its own tablet to boost its new Windows 8 operating system and counter Apple’s hot-selling iPad, according to media reports on Friday. Such an effort, which the company has not confirmed, would be a departure from its usual focus on software and potentially throw Microsoft into direct competition with its closest hardware partners such as Samsung Electronics and Hewlett-Packard. The world’s largest software company has invited media to a “major” announcement in Los Angeles on Monday afternoon, but has not provided any details. In the absence of information, talk is swirling that Microsoft will introduce its own tablet, according to anonymously sourced reports in the New York Times and the AllThingsD tech blog. Microsoft declined comment on the subject and those reports. It is not the first time such talk has surfaced, as Microsoft looks for a way to make an impact with its new tablet-friendly Windows 8 operating system and put the best product it can in the market to counter Apple’s iPad. Apple, which makes both hardware and software for greater control over the performance of the final product, has revolutionised mobile markets with its smooth, seamless phones and tablets. Rival Google may experiment with a similar approach after buying phone maker Motorola Mobility this year.