Surface Pro 3 Image Credit: Microsoft
Microsoft looks to be ready to give up profits in order to sell larger numbers of Surface Pro 3's. "Microsoft offers $650 store credit for MacBook Air for Surface Pro 3 trade-in." I was in the Microsoft store at Park Meadows Mall, Lone Tree, Colorado yesterday and asked about this offer.
The Microsoft store representative said that the salesperson has to go online and get a realtime price for the trade-in, and the value changes daily. It's stated that a MacBook Air, presumably a fully loaded one, is worth up to US$650, but Microsoft's algorithm determines the final number.
This seems like a dubious proposition, and one would think that not many Apple customers would be willing to give up their MBAs, but the Microsoft rep claimed he already had done three such transactions since the program started a week ago. The offer, which runs until July 31, also applies to a Surface Pro 2 trade-in.
The program is an indication of desperation. Microsoft is banking on two dubious ideas. 1) The Surface Pro 3 is a better notebook computer than the MacBook Air and 2) Apple customers will agree with that proposition in sufficient quantities to significantly boost Surface Pro 3 sales. Neither idea is sound in my view.
The program also flies in the face of product wisdom. That is, Apple customers know that they buy Apple products because they are just so darn cool and useful. The product speaks for itself and is a joy to own. On the other hand, a trade-in program tries to appeal to a customer's sense of either buyer's remorse or the idea that they're getting some kind of special deal. Either way, this program sends a bad signal.
In addition, Microsoft hopes that they can deliver the trade-ins to a 3rd party service that refurbishes and resells. But that company will extract a profit as well, and the net result is that Microsoft will likely lose money while failing to significantly boost Surface Pro 3 sales.
Finally, there are great virtualization products for OS X available from Parallels and VMware, so if an MBA customer needs to run Windows software, it can be done with negligible speed penality and great integration to OS X. The reason to switch just isn't there.
For Microsoft, it's far better to build a product that people will stand in line for at oh-dark-thirty in the morning. Like an iWatch. More on that coming up on page 2.
Next: the tech news debris for the week of June 23.