Here comes the Windows Phone Hail Mary

Microsoft’s latest effort to elbow its way into the U.S. smartphone market begins on Friday, when the first Windows Phone 8 devices go on sale.

Since the launch of Windows Phone 7 two years ago, the software giant has thrown hundreds of millions of dollars into developing and marketing its mobile operating system — with little success.

In some respects, it’s heading in the wrong direction. Microsoft’s smartphone sales are slowly ticking up, but the rest of the market is growing much faster. Microsoft’s smartphone market share fell to just 3.6% in September

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