As smart phones increasingly appear alike, with high-end models mostly taking their cues from Apple Inc.’s iPhone, more and more it’s the software they run that makes a difference, reports the Associated Press. A growing number of operating systems are jostling for the attention of phone buyers and manufacturers. The winners will determine what our phones can do, which web sites we’re steered to, and which manufacturers will survive the next few years. The battle will be on display as wireless carriers and phone makers gather next week in Barcelona, Spain, for the industry’s largest trade show, Mobile World Congress. The CEO of Google Inc., suddenly a strong contender in phone software, will address the show. Also hoping to make a splash is Microsoft Corp., which is struggling to revitalize its software.

These are the contenders, starting with the largest worldwide market share: (continued)…

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staff and wire services reports