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Microsoft is aiming to make Windows Phone a strong No. 3 in the smartphone market, behind Android and iPhone, but first it has a different rival to overcome: Samsung’s Bada smartphone operating system. Not to mention RIM and Symbian.

The Redmond company remained in sixth place in smartphone operating system sales in the first quarter, slipping to 1.9 percent of the market for the quarter, according to new numbers released this morning by the Gartner research firm.

That was down from 2.6 percent in the same quarter a year ago.

The worldwide trend for Microsoft was similar to results reported for the first quarter in the U.S. by the comScore Networks research firm. The numbers don’t reflect the U.S. launch of the Nokia Lumia 900, the new flagship Windows Phone, which hit the market in early April.

Here’s the full chart from Gartner …

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