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Ballmer: We 'screwed up with Windows Mobile'

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

Attendees of Microsoft's Venture Capital Summit reported via Twitter 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.

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 beninato, reported Ballmer said at the event that new talent is on the Windows Mobile team and vowed, “this won't happen again.”

A Microsoft employee, Scott Rockfeld, recently confirmed via e-mail to Computerworld that he had moved from a top Windows Mobile position to become director of Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit.

Microsoft said today that Rockfield's move was “completely unrelated to anything that was tweeted from the Venture Capital Summit.” Rockfield also said in an e-mail that that “there was no ousting” in his case, and that he got a more senior job that furthered his career.

Earlier this year, Ballmer told public sector CIOs 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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