Microsoft threatened by OS rivals?

New mobile operating systems such as Palm's webOS and Google's Android are threatening to take share away from Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system, which has already come under threat from long-time rival Apple. According to research firm IDC, Windows Mobile holds about 15 percent of the mobile OS market, while RIM leads with 48 percent and Apple's iPhone is in second place with 19 percent. Android only has 7.5 percent of the market, but that figure is expected to grow to 15 percent in the next five years. Meanwhile, Palm's webOS, which powers the Pre smartphone, is expected to have 8 percent of the market in the next five years.

Analysts speculate that any loss of market share by Microsoft could threaten its ability to push deeper into mobile devices. "If they don't have a nice footprint with the operating system, they won't be able to push certain applications for mobile users," said Sandeep Aggarwal, an analyst covering Microsoft for Collins Stewart LLC.

Another issue for the software giant is the uncertainty surrounding the release of Windows Mobile 7. While this new OS is supposed to match developments in competitive operating systems, the company has not yet said when it will release this new version.

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