updated 10:00 pm EDT, Thu September 12, 2013
Promotion aimed at selling Surface RT units ahead of upgrade
In addition to slashing the price by $150 -- making the entry-level model available for as little as $350 -- Microsoft is again attempting to persuade buyers to convert to its troubled Surface RT tablet in a new promotion, this time offering iPad users a $200 Microsoft Store gift card to trade-in their Apple tablets. The card can be used for any MS Store product, including the far-more-popular Xbox One, and the promotion ends on October 27 -- shortly after the company plans to release an upgraded version of the RT.
The offer gives traders a flat $200 for qualifying "gently used" iPad 2, third- or fourth-generation iPads. If applied to a base-model Surface RT, it would drop the price after trade-in to as little as $150. The company has also been trying to dump the tablets to schools in an unrelated promotion.
The offer comes as Microsoft continues a TV ad campaign that pokes fun at the iPad for the lack of a kickstand, and for not having USB ports. The entire Surface line, however, including the Windows 8-running Surface Pro, has failed to catch on with the public. Microsoft recently had to swallow a $900 million write-off on the products, and analysts are expecting more losses on it in the next quarterly report.
Microsoft is even being sued by investors over the Surface RT debacle, with accusations that executives made "materially false and misleading statements" about its success and lack thereof. The company has lost some $34 billion in market valuation over the fiasco. It plans to address some of the criticisms of its Surface tablets with an upcoming new version, expected to be revealed later this month or early next month -- sometime near the rumored announcement date of the next iPad models.
The next Surface is said to sport a 1080p (1920x1080) display, a redesigned kickstand, longer battery life and a Tegra 4 processor among other changes. Significantly, rumors say the company plans to remove the term "RT" from the next Surface, even though the consumer model will continue to use Windows RT for its operating system.