It's no secret that the Microsoft Surface tablet computer is taking its place among Microsoft's all-time most colossal flops, like the Zune MP3 player, the Bing search engine and the Windows Phone. To put the Surface's flat sales in perspective, Microsoft has sold just shy of two million Surface tablets in almost a year on the market. Apple, on the other hand, sold three million iPads in the first three days the new models became available last November.
So Microsoft is stuck with warehouses full of unsold Surface tablets and just the few greasy dollars from the tablets they did sell. Now they're dipping into their savings account to try and lure a few more Windows people into using their Windows tablet. Microsoft will give you $200 to trade in your iPad for a Surface or other Microsoft gear.
Well, a $200 gift card, actually. Microsoft is offering $200 for your iPad, redeemable in store credit at a Microsoft Store location. You must actually bring the iPad into a Microsoft Store; you cannot do this online. The store will accept trade-ins on an iPad 2, 3 or 4.
Furthermore, the iPad must be only "gently used." Left unsaid is that your used iPad can easily fetch more money on eBay.
"Do I think that many people will take [Microsoft] up on this offer? In a word, no," tech analyst Van Baker of research firm Gartner told the BBC. "The app ecosystem is the problem for Microsoft and this offer doesn't fix that problem."
Baker has a point. iPad users have roughly 250,000 apps available to download or purchase. Surface users, not so much. There are roughly 60,000 apps for the Surface tablet -- about 25 percent as many apps as the iPad can offer.
The main advantage of the Surface tablet is that it can employ a physical keyboard. But even if you grab this trade-in deal, the keyboard does not come with the Surface tablet. You have to buy the keyboard separately, generally for around $120 a pop.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is planning to introduce the Surface 2 tablet to Microsoft stores in a matter of weeks.
Just curious -- has anyone ever actually seen a Microsoft Store physical location? Apparently I have one within two miles of me. I had no idea.
Need some time to think over trading in your massively popular iPad for a massively unpopular Surface tablet? According to the Microsoft online store, this deal remains available until Oct. 27.