updated 10:00 am EDT, Thu May 19, 2011
Microsoft promo gives Xbox 360 Arcade with PCs
Microsoft took its own turn at driving computer sales with a new promo. Anyone buying a Windows 7-based PC worth $699 or higher will get an Xbox 360 Arcade 4GB system for free without needing a rebate. Online shops for Microsoft and other PC builders will give the Xbox to anyone buying using a .edu e-mail address, but Best Buy and Microsoft Stores will take student IDs.
In the US, the promo runs between May 22 and September 3. Canada and France will both get the offer sometime later.
The strategy is relatively uncommon for Microsoft and is closely patterned after that from Apple, which is due to start next week. Its competitor usually offers $199 towards an iPod in return for buying a Mac and follows a similar practice where it can give the credit right away through its online store or for proven students at stores. The practice is usually meant to help fuel sales during the otherwise slow spring and summer.
Microsoft has particular impetus to motivate sales in 2011. NPD data has shown Windows PC sales shrinking at most manufacturers where only a handful, such as Lenovo, Samsung, and Toshiba, have seen their sales go up. Netbook sales have dropped 40 percent year-to-year and dealt major blows to companies that had leaned on them too heavily, most notably Acer.
Mac growth has been ahead of the field for the past five years and, due to the PC sales slump, will have gained significant share.