With pricing and now production numbers, Microsoft’s ambitions for its new Surface tablet are starting to become clear.

Microsoft plans to produce three to five million Surface tablets in the fourth quarter, reports the Wall Street Journal, which cites Asian component suppliers.

Production of the devices began earlier this month, the suppliers said.

Rivaling production numbers for Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets and Google’s Nexus 7, Microsoft’s numbers are encouraging evidence that the company is taking the Surface launch very seriously. After all, the last thing Microsoft wants is to leave consumer demand unfulfilled.

But while Microsoft is clearly aiming high with its production numbers, it might be a tad too ambitious. After all, Apple is expected to announced its new, smaller iPad Mini next week, and Windows 8 devices from Lenovo, Samsung, and others could steal away potential Surface customers.

Of course, it could also go the other way: Consumers could be so enamored by the Surface that they’ll have no interest in the iPad Mini or whatever Ultrabook-tablet hybrids Lenovo is cooking up. We won’t know until the devices are released, which won’t happen until later this month.