Hundreds of venture capitalists attended a Microsoft-hosted summit yesterday where CEO Steve Ballmer acknowledged the company's problems getting Windows Mobile 7 onto the market in time. The operating system is expected to be a significant revamp of Microsoft's current mobile platform, but reports say it won't be in customer hands until fall of 2010 -- while a relatively small 6.5 update is due next month.

Meanwhile other platforms have long since integrated more advanced features and improved user interfaces. Although Microsoft still holds a sizeable portion of the market, the company has seen its strongest hardware partner, HTC, turn more of its attention to Android, while Palm outright confirmed it has no plans to produce any more Windows Mobile phones.

Ballmer assured the crowd that these delays would not happen again and that they are bringing in new talent to help with the development. In the same vein, the Microsoft executive spoke with TechCrunch and reiterated they have no plans on selling a Microsoft-branded phone -- even though recent leaks point to the contrary. He also used the opportunity to take a shot at Apple, claiming how a company that makes its own hardware can only dominate "niche" categories like media players, not something as massive as smartphones.