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RIM, Microsoft Aim for Apple

BARCELONA ( TheStreet) -- The big news from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, this week is operating systems. Everyone, it seems, has a new one. And by no coincidence, each one works like an Apple (AAPL - Get Report) iPhone.

Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) dazzled fans with its presentation of Windows Phone 7, an overhaul of its mobile software system, which is expected to be available in phones by the holidays.

Mobile World Congress
Alcatel Lucent CEO Ben Verwaayen

Research In Motion (RIMM) announced a new Web-friendly, application-ready operating system. Nokia (NOK) outlined yet another platform; this one, powered by Intel (INTC) and called MeeGo, is a blend of previous applications. Samsung rounded out the squad with Bada software, featuring a new "touchwiz" touchscreen control application.

Notably, nothing yet from Palm (PALM).

If you didn't know better, you might think all these players are trying to stand out in an increasingly crowded smartphone market. If you were a little circumspect, you might worry that not every player has what it takes to win in mobile phones.

Deep into its third year, Apple's iPhone is still the design to beat. A big bright touchscreen, a thin form, fingertip gesture-control, a ton of applications and a full-page Internet browser are now the standard equipment on a new generation of phones.

Google's (GOOG) effort with Android phones like the Motorola (MOT) Droid and HTC's latest like the Nexus One or Desire has notched a remarkable impact on the market. There's no Android blockbusters yet, but they make for a capable competitor to the iPhone.

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