Microsoft is hoping to give its hitherto disappointing tablet sales a shot in the arm by offering iPad owners the chance to trade in their device and "upgrade" to a heavily discounted new Surface machine.
Owners of a "gently used" second-, third-, or fourth-generation iPad are invited to bring their Apple machine into Microsoft retail stores in North America. The offer stipulates that the power cord must be provided, if possible, and asks that the machine is not password-protected.
Anyone taking advantage of the deal will receive "a minimum of a $200 gift card". Surface RT prices begin at $349 (£219), with the Pro model available from $799. The offer is not available in the UK or online.
Six weeks ago Microsoft's annual 10-K filing revealed that it sold $853m worth of Surface devices in its financial year to 30 June, with analysts describing the sales figures as characteristic of "a spectacular disaster".
This came days after the software giant's fourth-quarter results revealed a $900m writedown on excess inventory of its tablet, and the 10-K also revealed the vendor had spent more - $898m - on advertising the Surface and Windows 8 than it had generated in sales from the tablet.
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