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Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 will surpass Research In Motion’s BlackBerry and Apple’s iOS to become the second-ranked smartphone operating system in the world by 2015, according to a new report from research firm IDC.

Much of that gain will come courtesy of Microsoft’s recent partnership with Nokia, which will see Windows Phone 7 ported onto the latter’s devices. “Up until the launch of Windows Phone 7 last year, Microsoft has steadily lost market share while other operating systems have brought forth new and appealing experiences,” Ramon Llamas, an analyst at IDC, wrote in the March 29 report. “The new alliance brings together Nokia’s hardware capabilities and Windows Phone’s differentiated platform.”

By 2015, he continued, “IDC expects Windows Phone to be number 2 operating system worldwide behind Android.”

To wit, the IDC note then suggests that Android’s share of the worldwide smartphone operating-system market come 2015 will be 45.4 percent, followed by Windows Phone with 20.9 percent, Apple’s iOS with 15.3 percent, RIM’s BlackBerry with 13.7 percent, and Symbian with 0.2 percent. Undefined “others”—which includes, presumably, Hewlett-Packard’s webOS operating system – will take the last 4.6 percent.

Should that come to pass, it would represent a substantial reversal from Microsoft’s current fortunes in the mobile space. According to a recent comScore report, Microsoft’s share of the U.S. smartphone market dipped 1.7 percent between October 2010 and January 2011, from 9.7 percent to 8.0 percent. That trailed Google, which ended January with 31.2 percent of the market, Research In Motion with 30.4 percent and Apple with 24.7 percent.

Microsoft confirmed at the end of January that some 2 million Windows Phone 7 units had been sold by manufacturers to retailers, but the exact number reaching consumers’ hands remains unclear. “Our numbers are similar to the performance of other first-generation mobile platforms,” Achim Berg, Microsoft’s vice president of business and marketing for Windows Phones, mentioned in a Q&A posted Dec. 21 on the company’s corporate Website. “It takes time to educate partners and consumers on what you’re delivering, and drive awareness and interest in your new offering. We’re comfortable with where we are, and we are here for the long run.”

For more, read the eWEEK article: Windows Phone 7 Will Crush Apple iOS by 2015: Report.