Given the respective market share held by the iPhone and Windows 8’s predecessors, it’s a safer bet that Microsoft is the one trying to steal the spotlight,http://pgfoundry.org/developer/diary.php?diary_user=473629, says Queen’s University marketing professor Ken Wong.

In New York Wednesday, meanwhile, Nokia has already confirmed it will be showing off its latest smart phones, using Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system.

Tech industry journalists were invited Tuesday to a September 12 Apple event in San Francisco. While details of the event weren’t officially released, two sources confirmed to Bloomberg News that it was for the unveiling of Apple’s latest iPhone, usually referred to as the iPhone 5.

“Our checks indicated the iPhone 4S lost the top-selling smartphone position in the U.S. market to the Samsung Galaxy S III during August,” wrote Walkley in a research note. Still, Walkley says that trend is likely a temporary blip.

“This is actually to Microsoft’s benefit, if they think they’ve got a great product, because people will be more likely to compare it to the new iPhone,” said Wong. For Apple, says Wong, trying to steal thunder from a much smaller rival would be more trouble than it’s worth.

According to market research firm IDC, Apple’s iOS held 16.9 per cent of the world smart phone market in the second quarter. While that’s dwarfed by the 68.1 per cent share held by phones running Google’s Android operating system, it’s still a lot more than phones running Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile, which clocked in at 3.5 per cent. Research in Motion’s BlackBerry smart phones slipped to 4.8 per cent of global smart phone market share,http://videogum.com/author/andybarton/, according to IDC. RIM is banking on phones running its long-awaited BB10 operating system to salvage the company’s falling share. BB10 is set to launch in the first quarter of next year.

“The timing could just be a coincidence, but if it isn’t, it’s more likely Microsoft was trying to get a jump on Apple’s launch,” said Wong.

With Microsoft set to launch its latest smart phones in New York Wednesday, is Apple trying to steal some of its archrival’s marketing thunder, or is it the other way around?

By having their launch so close to Apple’s, Microsoft and Nokia are going to get more attention than they otherwise would, argues Wong.

Anticipation of the lastest iPhone, meanwhile, hurt Apple’s sales earlier this summer, according to Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley.

“They’re going to get coverage for their iPhone no matter when they launch it,” said Wong.

“Our checks indicated strong consumer interest in and likely demand for the iPhone 5, and we believe Apple will return to strong number one smartphone share in the U.S. post the iPhone 5 launch,” Walkley added.

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