Ballmer admits bungling Windows Mobile

It’s becoming obvious that Microsoft Corp. officials, including CEO Steve Ballmer, wish Windows Mobile were a better mobile operating system.

Bloggers attending Microsoft’s Venture Capital Summit reported today that Ballmer said Microsoft “screwed up with Windows Mobile” and changed the Windows Mobile team recently to try to recoup losses. Journalists were not attending, and Microsoft could not be reached to confirm Ballmer’s comments, recorded by audience members using Twitter.

Venture capitalist Paul Jozefak’s tweet from the event   said that Ballmer wished Windows Mobile 7 had already launched, even as Windows Mobile 6.5 has not yet launched.

Version 6.5 is due out in October while version 7 is due next year, Ballmer and others have said.

Another tweet, from beninatohad Ballmer saying at the event that new talent is on the Windows Mobile team and vowing, “this won’t happen again.”

A Microsoft employee, Scott Rockfeld, recently confirmed via e-mail to Computerworld that he had moved recently from a top Windows Mobile position to director of Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit. No reason was given.

Earlier this year, Ballmer told public sector CIO s that Windows Mobile 6.5 was not “the full release we wanted to have this year.” His comment was made in response a question about how Microsoft planned to keep up with phone rivals, such as iPhone and Android.

Analysts have questioned whether there is a long future for Windows Mobile , especially after version 7, noting that it has not done that well in the market behind other operating systems running in the iPhone and others.

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