Microsoft wants your tablet. That is, if you are willing to sell them your old tablet and purchase a Microsoft product. Computerworld broke the news on September 19, 2013 about the buyback program that was expanded from last week’s offer, which was only a buyback for the Apple iPad. Now through October 27, 2013, Microsoft will purchase any tablet; Android or Apple.
As with many things in life, the devil is in the details. So what is the catch? Well, upon selling your old tablet to a third party vendor (Clover Wireless), the proceeds are paid via a gift card which is only good for purchases at a Microsoft store. But there is still another wrinkle. Before one receives payment for the used tablet, a competing Microsoft tablet must be purchased. Hence, the proceeds of the used device cannot be applied the cost of the new tablet. That might not be enough to tempt a switch.
There is a website to estimate the value an existing device. For newer iPad models with 64GB of storage, the buyback could be as high as $350. However, one will quickly find that most buyback prices are significantly less. Considering the buyback amount is not applied to a new purchase, it seems like a non-starter. For example, take an Android tablet, the Asus EeePad 16GB. The estimate for that came up as $35; hardly a meaningful incentive to purchase a Microsoft device. Even if the $35 could be applied, it would not be worth all of the hassle.
While there are many nice features of the Surface Pro tablet, the cost of $799 plus $100 for the keyboard cover is not significantly ameliorated through this buyback program. The Surface RT is considerably less, but the RT operating system may not have a long lifespan, making it a risky purchase.
Given that Microsoft recently reduced their tablet prices, they are obviously trying to generate more market activity. This buyback program is another effort to generate more sales, and that is laudable. But in the end, this marketing program is probably too little to change many minds about purchasing a Microsoft tablet. Microsoft can surely do better. Time will tell if they choose to.