Ballmer is dreaming big with the Surface.
Microsoft surprised everyone when it unveiled two own-brand Surface tablets last month. Since then, it's become quite clear that Microsoft has invested an awful lot of time and money into the project and isn't playing around. So, just how well is Microsoft expecting the Surface to do?
According to Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft told attendees at Worldwide Partner Keynote in Toronto that the company expects to sell several million Surface units in the next year. "I actually thought I heard Ballmer say 'a few millions,' with an 's,'" Foley wrote on her All About Microsoft Blog.
The fact that Microsoft is so ambitious is no surprise. After all, the company took a pretty big risk with its hardware partners in developing its own device. Since the company unveiled the Surface, many have been asking if Microsoft has lost faith in its partners. Another theory is that it was trying to give them an incentive to get to work on better devices of their own. And, now that the company has taken this step with tablets, there's questions as to whether they'll make the same move with Windows Phone. Steve Ballmer has said the company is concentrating on Surface for now, but didn't rule out the possibility of a Microsoft-brand Windows Phone.
Foley believes such lofty ambitions tell us that Microsoft is firmly in the hardware business and doesn't plan to go anywhere anytime soon. Of course, the company is no stranger to hardware, already manufacturing the likes of the Xbox, a plethora of mice and keyboards, and, at one point, the Zune. Still, it will be interesting to see how Redmond does with tablets. And who knows, if things go well with the surface, the company may build a phone, too.