Microsoft to Launch iPhone Rival on Verizon Early Next Year?

In a brief report (subscription required), The Wall Street Journal claims that Microsoft and Verizon are in talks to launch an iPhone rival in early 2010. MarketWatch summarizes the report:

The Microsoft phone, code-named "Pink," is expected to appear by 2010 and would extend the tech giant's Windows Mobile cellphone operating system, according to the Journal.

Similar to Google's Android platform, Microsoft will reportedly work with a third party who will manufacture the device, but Microsoft will play an integral role in design and development.

Verizon has been linked to several rumors regarding the iPhone from mainstream news sources in recent days, first with renewed claims that the iPhone may be making its way onto the carrier's network sometime next year, and earlier today with rumors that Apple and Verizon are developing two new products, an "iPhone lite" and a larger "Media Pad", also slated for release as early as 2010.