We’re not sure if this is smart, stupid, or desperate. Last week, Microsoft was offering an iPad trade-in service that saw users get up to US$200 in gift vouchers if they brought in their iPad 2, 3 or 4 to a Microsoft store (presumably so they’d buy one of its Surface tablets instead). From Friday, Microsoft says that it will again offer “up to US$200 in-store credit” for an iPhone 4S or 5.
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“Inside sources” from Microsoft stores say that from Friday the offer will kick in, according to a Forbes report. It’s associated with the “#timetoswitch” campaign, which certainly isn’t going to push the millions of iPhone 5S and 5C users off their brand new devices. But perhaps Microsoft is counting on the endless amount of spare iPhones that will be lying in drawers now, thanks to the recent launch of the two new iPhones. If we had spare iPhones, we’d have a US$200 voucher sitting in our hand that can actually be used for anything Microsoft stocks.
With Microsoft recently announcing it would be acquiring Nokia’s devices and services division, perhaps this is the push that the company needs to get its rather small portion of market share looking healthy once more. This, combined with all the trade-in programs Microsoft’s currently running, could see a healthy influx of new users. Windows Phones aren’t bad, but with some of them costing more than an iPhone 5S, many saw no real reason to upgrade. But at US$200 less than an iPhone, some users could be swayed into swapping to the Windows Phone generation.
The only issue is that this scheme does smack of desperation. Many would swap, but this “we’ll pay to switch” nonsense grates a slight. Just offer a great phone. Imagine if Apple CEO Tim Cook offered money for old Windows Phones devices. Exactly, you can’t. Because Apple offers desirable products. Microsoft makes great OS, crammed onto less-than-successful devices. We hope it works out for them, or at the very least, Microsoft starts offering US$400 off their devices. Then we’d truly see a successful slice of the smartphone market going to Microsoft.