Microsoft wants you to buy a Surface. Microsoft really wants you to buy a Surface. After cutting the price of the Surface RT, temporarily putting the Surface Pro on sale, then making that sale permanent, Microsoft has begun yet another promotional push. This time, the company is offering a gift card worth at least $200 to anyone who walks into a Microsoft Store and trades in their iPad.
The offer will be available in "select Microsoft retail stores" across the U.S. and Canada, and it will run until October 27. To participate, you must bring in a second-, third-, or fourth-gen iPad with its power cord. The device can't be password-protected. Microsoft doesn't say how much it will offer for different versions of the Apple tablet, but it promises a "minimum of a $200 gift card."
As nice as that gesture may be, Microsoft seems to be forgetting about the high resale value of used Apple hardware. A quick look through eBay shows you can get much more than $200 even for a base iPad 2. I see a used, 16GB, Wi-Fi-only iPad 2 listed for $285 with four bids and four hours to go—and third- and fourth-gen iPads sell for even more.
There's also the issue that, right now, the only Surface tablets available are nearing the ends of their lives. Plus, even with a $200 gift card, you'd still have to cough up $149 for the privilege of owning a Surface RT. Blech. No thanks.
There's a much better alternative if you're a Windows-curious iPad user. Just sell your iPad on eBay, then get one of Asus' upcoming $349 Transformer Book T100 convertibles, which will pack a snappy and power-efficient Bay Trail processor, the full version of Windows 8, and a free keyboard dock. As a bonus, you won't even have to walk into a Microsoft Store.