You can calling it closing the barn door after the horse is out, you can call it too little too late. But our glass is half-full, and we're taking Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's recent admission that Windows Mobile 7 was botched and late as a positive step.

Ballmer (seen above in all his fuzziness) spoke at a Venture Capital Summit for about 200 in California and let loose a couple of nuggets, which of course immediately made it onto Twitter. [via wmpoweruser, image via @manukumar]

Said @pjozefak: "Ballmer says they screwed up with Windows Mobile. Wishes they had already launched WM7. They completely revamped the team."

And said @beninato: "Ballmer re: poor execution in Windows Mobile" 'We've pumped in some new talent and said "This will not happen again" ' "

We can only imagine the weeks and months of stewing that led up to that, but to us it's a good thing. Because the first step to fixing a problem is recognizing it in the first place.

In the same vein, Ballmer sat down for a chat with TechCrunch's Mike Arrington for a brief state of the union. Any Windows Mobile talk was brief and not overly specific, but Ballmer did drop the following:

So I think you can have an Apple in the phone business, or a RIM, and they can do very well, but when 1.3 billion phones a year are all smart, the software that’s gonna be most popular in those phones is gonna be software that’s sold by somebody who doesn’t make their own phone. And, we don’t want to cross the chasm in the short run and lose the war in the long run and that’s why we think the software play is the right play for us for high volume, even though some of the guys in the market today with vertically oriented solutions may do just fine.

Watch Arrington's interview after the break.