July 10, 2012, 9:07 PM — Microsoft hopes to sell at least a few million of its Surface tablets after Windows
8 debuts in October, according to company chief executive Steve Ballmer. The Microsoft chief made the comments
during the opening keynote for Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto. Ever since Microsoft announced
Surface, critics have debated whether the company will follow Apple's
lead and start designing its own hardware on a regular basis or whether Surface is
just a limited-edition reference design meant to inspire its hardware partners to do better.
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Based on Ballmer's comments, it appears that Microsoft isn't entirely clear on the answer either. During the
keynote, Ballmer's comment on selling a few million devices suggests that the company doesn't have huge
iPad-busting plans for the Surface. Apple has already sold more than 27 million iPads in 2012, far more than the
few million Ballmer suggests the Surface will achieve. But we already knew that didn't we? The iPad is available
from Apple and a number of third-party retailers including Amazon, Best Buy and Target. Microsoft said it plans to
sell the Surface only in the U.S. and only through its small chain of retail stores as well as online, at least at
Ballmer also sat down for an interview with CRN.com, saying that Microsoft intended to leave no stone unturned
in its fight against Apple. We are not going to let any piece of this [go]...not the consumer cloud. Not hardware
software innovation. We are not leaving any of that to Apple by itself, Ballmer said, according to CRN.com.
We do feel empowered to innovate everywhere and bring our partners with us, Ballmer said.