Microsoft apparently has some fairly low goals in mind when it comes to the initial sales of its ecently revealed Surface tablet. Today, as part of his keynote speech at the 2012 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, the company's CEO Steve Ballmer told the crowd in Toronto that the goal is to sell "a few million Surface PCs" in the next year.
While "a few million" gives Microsoft some elbow room when it comes to the Surface's first year of sales, it also shows that the company doesn't expect the Surface to be a massive hit out of the gate. By contrast, Apple sold 10 million units of the first iPad during its launch year of 2010. Part of the reason for the low sales estimate may be that Microsoft has yet to state that it will sell the Surface at retailers other than its own Microsoft Store locations and online. That could keep the availability of the Surface very limited at first.
Microsoft may also not want to cut into the sales of its many third party PC hardware partners who will be coming out with their own Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets. As we reported earlier, Microsoft now expects the RTM versions of both operating systems to be ready by the first week of August, with a commercial launch in late October.