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(Reuters) – Microsoft launched its new mobile phone operating software on Monday, introducing a range of music, gaming and networking features aimed at expanding its appeal beyond its core business customers.

The world’s biggest software company, which is trying to wrest back market share from Apple’s iPhone and Research in Motion’s BlackBerry, said new phones featuring Windows Phone 7 would be in stores by Christmas.

The overhaul of Microsoft’s phone technology, a year later than expected, comes as it hemorrhages market share in the smartphone market, which many see as the key to the future of communication and media.

Microsoft took just an 8.8 percent share of the global smartphone operating systems market last year, according to technology analysis firm Canalys, down from 13.9 percent the year before.

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Greg Mahlich)