Microsoft Cranks Up Surface Tablet Output

It's said to be producing a first run of 3 million to 5 million

By Nate Wooley, InvestorPlace Writer

When Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) makes a move, it goes big. It’s got the muscle and the money to make things happen.

That’s what’s happening with Microsoft’s new tablet, the Surface. Parts suppliers in Asia are reporting that the Redmond, Wash.-based firm is planning a production run of 3 million to 5 million units in the fourth quarter.

That initial production is the same number of Kindle Fires that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is making and as well as Nexus 7 devices from Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). Rumors from a similar source indicate that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is ramping up to produce as many as 10 million units of a smaller tablet in Q4, assumed to be the iPad mini.

Microsoft unveiled the Surface tablet in June of this year. It’s comparable in size to the iPad 2 and comes with a keyboard and kickstand as standard features. The Surface, which is designed to run the upcoming Windows 8 operating system, will also carry an iPad-like starting price of $499. But that gives you 32 gigabytes of memory, versus 16 gigs in the base iPad.

Given Microsoft’s enormous tablet deficit, no wonder it’s pinning so much on the Surface as a  rival to Apple, Google and Amazon.

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