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Report: Symbian at a Mobile Loss

UPDATED: Do you know what the leading mobile OS was in 2005?

According to a new report from research firm The Diffusion Group (TDG), Symbian's once ironclad grip on the mobile space is slipping and soon expected to yield its title in the fiercely competitive mobile OS arena.

Symbian held a 51 percent market share at the end of 2005, down from 56 percent in 2004. Linux came in second at 23 percent, which was double its 2004 share of 11.3 percent. Microsoft came in third upping its 2004 market share of 12.6 percent to 17 percent.

Though Windows and Linux are gaining at Symbian's expense, TDG expects that Symbian will continue to lead the pack until 2010.

The research group forecast that in 2010, Windows will hold the lead at a projected 29 percent, trailed by Linux at 26 percent and Symbian at 22 percent.

Lee Allen, report author and lead mobile analyst with TDG, cited a number of factors for Windows's and Linux's continued growth.

Among the factors for the continued growth and adoption of Windows Mobile are its appeal to the enterprise and specifically tight integration with the rest of .NET architecture.

For Linux, its strong appeal in emerging markets, particularly China, is expected to help drive future adoption.

Though both Windows and Linux growth is expected to outpace Symbian's growth, you can't necessarily count out Symbian just yet.

According to Allen, it is hard to say whether there is any chance or indication that you see that Symbian will be able to reverse the downward tide. If there is such a chance it would involve architectural and business-model changes on the part of Symbian.

"If these are accomplished, Symbian's incumbent status would give it a good chance of preserving its lead," Allen told internetnews.com.

Earlier this week, Symbian announced new pricing models to help it gain customers in lower cost market segments, as well as a new collaboration with Freescale and Nokia on a single core 3G chip.

Symbian claims that it has had, "strong growth in unit shipments at over 100 percent annually for four consecutive years."

Just yesterday, Microsoft extended the indemnification protection that it provides for Windows Mobile and Embedded as part of its bid to further endear itself to its partners in the space.