Microsoft Aims to Sell Millions Of Surface Tablets in 1st Year

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.

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  • yannigr
    Millions? They have Millions of emploeys? Really?
  • kartu
    Chinese plan to sell 50 million per month.
    So selling millions annually doesn't sound as much.
  • DjEaZy
    ... dream on..
  • internetlad
    I, for one, Think that this has been M$ plan all along, and honestly it's a good plan. Win8 is obviously geared towards non-traditional use (IE tablets and touchscreens over desktops.) and Win8, while being obviously bashed by many people on the home desktop marketplace, is pretty damn slick on a good tablet (If you've used Win8 for any extended amount of time on a Samsung Slate or the like, you'll know what i'm talking about.)

    The big thing is the functionality. You're not paying for a stripped down, angry birds playing iOS platform, this is a full fledged OS we're talking about, for better and worse. Taking your MS office on the go in a proper, familiar platform, people will enjoy. Getting a malware infection and having to figure out how to reformat your tablet? Ehhhh. . . not so much.

    Although i'm not exactly "excited" about the tablet craze upcoming and current, It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Tablets don't have the horsepower I expect to do what I want to do, but I might end up with one to remote into my home PC for when i'm on the go, that IS a tantalizing thought.

    In the end, it will come down to functionality (which is lacking in iOS) Stability (which is often lacking in early MS OS builds, think vista.) and having the proper hardware for the job. With M$ putting out the hardware, they control all 3 of those factors and it's all on them, for better or worse.
  • beardguy
    @ internetlad

    You have some good points. I agree, IOS is a locked-down, very limited OS. Android, while not nearly as locked down as IOS, is still very limited in functionality compared to a desktop OS. Tablets are currently a strange breed, they are not quite a PC and not quite phone. If the future of desktop PC's is to go the way of the tablet (albeit they will look much different) then Microsoft could certainly be on to something.

    Historically though, Microsoft has tried the same thing and failed bad. Taking a fully-fledged desktop OS and trying to make it work on a tablet by only adding "touch" was a huge fail. At least this time they are incorporating the Metro UI for tablet, and the user can also access the full OS if desired.

    If Microsoft is successful, the future will be in making an OS where ALL the complex functionality works seamless on a tablet. In other words, Metro UI will be all that there is on tablet ... but it will include everything that currently exists on a desktop PC in a seamless manner. As it stands, I see Surface Tablets as being merely a transition device for the future.
  • killerclick
    Microsoft just doesn't get it. A tablet is nothing like a PC and consumers don't want it to be anything like a PC. That's why Tablet PC failed and that's why Surface Pro will fail. It will be too expensive, too heavy and too thick. The fact that it can run x86 applications means what, exactly? Is anybody going to drop $700 for Photoshop so they can run it on a 10" screen on a crippled ULV processor? That keyboard is nice in theory, but pointless, since you can't use that kickstand properly on your lap, so you need furniture to use the physical keyboard. That's some portability.

    Surface RT will fail because it has nothing on Android tablets or the iPad. It will only have 1366x768, Tegra 3 (which will be almost a year old when RT is released), it will have relatively few apps to begin with, but it will be as expensive as the iPad and top-of-the-line Android tablets. It's a brand new software ecosystem, and a user interface that failed to materialize phone sales in Windows Phone 7 (and probably won't in WP8 either).
  • Nakal
    I don't know. You may see these in enterprise environments because they will probably be easily manageable through the existing Microsoft AD ecosystem. That is something you cannot do easily right now with Android and iOS. I could see my IT shop choosing these over IPADs and Android for that reason alone.
  • lradunovic77
    Microsoft doesn't get that Tablet is not PC. Surface is trying to be both and will end up as failure just like Windows 8 is trying to be Desktop and Tablet OS and in fact will not be good for anything. If you think touch is future way of computing you are badly mistaken just like Microsoft. Future way of computing in virtual reality and touch was and is unnatural way to do thing on screen which means there is nothing more efficient than mouse and mouse click action along with keyboard. Just because touch works on smart phone means that it wont work anything bigger than tablet. Anything bigger due size of screen in front you is becoming stupid and not practical therefore Windows 8 should have clear separation meaning Metro should be pushed only on PM devices.

    Industry badly needs to introduce new terminology called PM -> Personal Mobile which is nothing like PC we use today.
  • djscribbles
    Personally, the ability to be both a tablet and a laptop is quite attractive imo. The desktop OS may (or may not) suck, but having a good tablet interface with the ability to do actual computer stuff with it by going desktop mode; if I was the sort to run out and buy this kind of stuff, I would be tempted to do so; fortunately, I like to keep my money so that one day I can fill a swimming pool with it.
  • math1337
    They might have a chance with the surface pro(as long as it is the right price)

    Surface RT, though, does not have the desktop, so it has almost nothing on android/ios slates.