Microsoft plans to sell three million Surfaces -

Software giant Microsoft has said that it will sell only three million Surface tablets when the machines go on sale at Christmas.

It sounds like a lot for a new product, but with rumours that they are going to sell for less than $200, they could fly off the shelves. Indeed so much so that the Tame Apple press has been penning its best hatchet jobs to the Apple flag in the face of what could be some serious competition. The Surface will be sold with a better spec, better software and at half the price of the iPad.

But three million is not a particularly high number. The iPad shipped a million iPads in its first month on the market in 2010. Samsung's Galaxy Tab, the next big tablet on the market, sold 600,000 in its first month. Some seem to think that Microsoft is being bullish trying to sell three million of its first version Surface tablets in three months. The figure is closer to Apple's own figures in a quarter in 2010.

The numbers come from IDC and it is not clear where the analyst pulled its figures from. It seems likely that Vole has been winning and dining the analyst community to prepare it for one of the biggest launch quarters in Microsoft's history. Our guess is that if Microsoft does release its tablet for under $200 then they are going to be in short supply very quickly.