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Microsoft's New Tactic: Pay People Not to Use iPads

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This week, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) announced that it will give users a minimum $200 Microsoft Store gift card for a used iPad 2, 3 and 4. It's an odd, if not desperate, attempt to lure users away from Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) iPads to Microsoft's unpopular Surface tablets -- and it won't work.

We pay you
According to Microsoft, the deal started on Sept. 5 and goes until Oct. 27, and timing is anything but accidental. The company is expected to release the new Surface 2 tablet line on Sept. 23, and this deal is aimed at both moving old inventory and trying to get customers interested in the new tablets.

With a minimum iPad trade in of $200, customers could come close to the Surface RT price of $349. Microsoft didn't specify what the maximum gift card amount would be, but it said on its website that "Microsoft Store gift-card value will be equal to trade-in value, and is subject to Microsoft's discretion and manager approval."

Maybe Microsoft failed to read up on the J.D. Power and Associates survey released at the end of April, showing that the iPad is No. 1 in customer satisfaction. Apple beat out and Samsung to win the top spot -- twice. In a press release by J.D. Power, the company said, "For the second consecutive study, Apple ranks highest among manufacturers of tablets in overall owner satisfaction."

Good luck, Microsoft.

Apple shipped more than 14 million iPads in the second quarter of this year alone -- with Samsung in second with 8 million -- and ranks as the world's top tablet vendor by shipments. Handing out some gift cards isn't going to change any of that.

A better plan
A good marketing campaign is one that convinces customers why one product is a better buy than another. But Microsoft's strategy as of late has been to bash the iPad in commercials and now to simply pay people not to use it. Both show Microsoft's desperation.

The company needs a better tablet product to really compete against Apple and its competitors. With a Surface 2 and Pro 2 announcement expected later this month, Microsoft will have another chance to prove it can tackle tablets head-on. Microsoft investors need to see solid Surface sales from the company and a commitment to developing a cohesive operating system across the desktop, tablet, and smartphone platforms. With its tablet OS market share at just 4.5%, Microsoft may be wise to focus more on maker better products and less on marketing gimmicks.

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Read/Post Comments (7) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 7:16 PM, Thekazman wrote:

    Which kind of idiot do they think would trade in APPLE iPad for a Microsoft tablet??? This is not desperate, just plain stupid!

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 7:51 PM, cfin2987 wrote:

    What? Apple have horrendous customer service, that is until, you pay them to provide basic assistance. They wanted $160 from my wife to answer a basic question about the ipad after only 4 months of ownership. Thats right, because after 3 months you don't have support anymore.

    But hey, that $160 was for an extra years support (not warranty). I have had sony products for years and when you call, even if its out of warranty, which in the ipads case it wasnt, they would still try to help you over the phone

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 7:54 PM, cazic99 wrote:

    Not everybody is suitable to drive BMWs or use Apple, some are just suitable for cheap korean junk. If you don't want to pay, then use the cheap stuff?

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 7:55 PM, akaphil wrote:

    @Thekazman Liked your comment, it made me laugh... Very true!

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 10:41 PM, dastaub22 wrote:

    Apple fans come across as snobs.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 2:08 AM, TS2912 wrote:

    Let's do the math...

    I pay $450 for an iPad (a perfectly fine device that works beautifully and is supported by every application possible).

    I then go to MSFT, trade in my (perfectly working) iPad for $200 and pay another $150 for a (POS) Surface RT

    So my new RT costs me $600

    (Amazing considering that MSFT cannot sell them for $350) (Even more amazing that some genius at MSFT, earning half a million dollars a year, thought this up)

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 8:21 PM, dcflipflop wrote:

    Since Apple buyers are clearly not concerned about saving money, and Microsoft's advertising seems to point out value (ie. a GOOD tablet at a reasonable price) it seems to me their approach should not be to woo the Apple fans but maybe they should be more focused on competing with Samsung, Asus, and Google tablets. I think they haven't figured out who their target customers really are yet.

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