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Microsoft Set to Outshine Apple iPhone

A big three-phone Windows 7 debut at AT&T will take the spotlight off Apple for a change.



) -- For the first time since its introduction in 2007,


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iPhone is going to take a backseat at


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as Ma Bell prepares a glitzy launch of three


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Windows 7 phones.

AT&T is expected to unveil phones from






, according the

The Wall Street Journal

. These will be the first phones in the U.S. to run on Microsoft's long-awaited Windows 7 operating system. Given what's

at stake for Microsoft and the size of its bank account

, the Windows 7 event at AT&T will not be a low-key affair.

The timing of the announcement, reported to be Oct. 11, and the media blitz leading up to the launch of the Windows 7 phones at AT&T in November, will attempt to put Microsoft phones center stage during the holidays.

AT&T declined to comment.

This prized year-end showcase has always been Apple's turf.

Meanwhile, stealing some of the attention over at the enemy camp,


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is preparing a very Android Christmas. And those plans do not include the mythical

Verizon iPhone


In the works: A faster, global-ready



Droid Pro, a new HTC Droid with global, or multinetwork connectivity and another


Android called Continuum, according to the

phone snoops at Engadget


So what does the smartphone invasion mean to Apple? Lost market share, for one.

Morgan Stanley predicts that Apple will fall to fourth place from third in the smartphone operating system race in the fourth quarter due to the strength of


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Android and the arrival of Microsoft's Windows 7.

It's all the more important that Apple's iPad was a hit with consumers, giving the iPhone a little cushion during a crowded phone buying season.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.>To contact this writer, click here: Scott Moritz, or email: follow Scott on Twitter, go to>To send a tip, email: