Samsung is saddled with Android, the run-of-the-mill operating system that’s available on the cheapest smartphones. Microsoft has a similar problem with a new line of Surface notebooks and hybrid tablets. They all run Windows and the only way Microsoft can get customers to trade up or switch is to pay them.
When was the last time you saw a Mac on sale? It doesn’t happen at Apple, but occasionally a third party reseller will cut the price to move old inventory when new models are released. That’s about it and the scenario is the same for iPhones and iPads.
Microsoft has made some noise with the Surface notebooks and tablets which start at $499, far less than a MacBook. The company doesn’t hesitate to compare and contrast the Surface notebook-cum-tablet hybrids to iPads and Macs.
If they’re so great then why is Microsoft offering $300 for you to switch. The company seems so desperate to unload inventory that they’re also offering $300 to Windows PC users to trade in their old machines to get a new one running Windows 10.
Got an old MacBook or iMac you don’t want, and hankering for a new Windows 10 PC with a price tag of $599 or more? Microsoft is willing to give you $300 cash back. That makes a $600 Windows PC worth about $300. What’s an old Mac worth?
I just checked Gazelle and priced out one of my old iMacs, circa 2010 (one that would qualify for Microsoft’s cash back program). It’s a 20-inch, Core i5o, 2.8GHz CPU, 4GB RAM, 750GB HD in great condition (iMac11,3). Gazelle says it’s worth just under $300, about what Microsoft would give me if I decided to switch and buy a new Windows PC.
Is Microsoft so savvy that they’re figured out a way to entice Mac users to Windows? Or, is the company so desperate to promote Windows 10 and Windows PCs that they’re forced to pay you to buy one of their products?
Sadly, it’s the latter.
If Windows 10 and the Surface line (or, any other Windows-based PC) were so great, so secure, so stable, and so wanted and desired by customers running old machines or Mac users tired of the annual OS X upgrade treadmill, why would they need to offer a cash back to spur sales?
Here’s why. The small Surface is a hybrid device, mostly a notebook without a keyboard, that runs Windows and has a touchscreen. They’re available for a few hundred dollars, but Microsoft and their OEM manufacturing partners have had a touch time selling them, and annual PC sales continue to drop.
Microsoft’s Surface Pro, which tries to masquerade as a very heavy, very thick tablet, is more of a notebook without a keyboard, too, and even the touchscreen doesn’t seem to be moving inventory. The new Surface Book (catchy name; where have I heard that before?) is a full on notebook designed to compete with Apple’s MacBook Pro line in price and features, but still suffers from the same plague afflicting Samsung. Surface Book is loaded down with Windows 10, which means you can buy the same functionality for easily $1,000 less.
Back to my original question? How bad does a product have to be if they pay you to buy it?