Their prices are insane! Is Microsoft becoming the Crazy Eddie of the tech world?

Microsoft has just launched several deals offering up to $250 credit for used tablets, and free Windows Phones for used smartphones. At this rate, it's starting to sound like the Crazy Eddie discount electronics stores known for their whacked-out commercials and the tagline, "His prices are insane!"

For anyone who wants a Windows Phone or Surface tablet, the deals are hard to pass up. Trade in a used smartphone or tablet, and you can get up to $250 credit at a Microsoft Store. The devices have to be in good working order, come with their original accessories, and not have cracked screens. The $250 is the most you can get, so you might get less. And you'll have to go to a Microsoft Store to trade it in. Still, it's a good deal. Get a $250 trade-in at the store, and you could would out with a Surface 2 tablet for only $199.

If you want a new Lumia Windows Phone, there's an even better deal. Trade in an old, working iPhone 4, iPhone 4s or Galaxy S2 and you get a free Lumia 1020 or Nokia Lumia 1520. They're both very good phones. The 1020 comes with a great camera with 41 megapixel resolution. The 1520 is an oversized phablet.

The way the deals are presented are tasteful and subdued, but the offers do remind one of the dearly departed Crazy Eddie discount electronics stores in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania in the 1970s and 1980s. The chain became famous for its screaming commercials and the tagline about Crazy Eddie, "His prices are insane!" Check out this YouTube video of just one of the many commercials.

Crazy Eddie was owned by Eddie and Sam M. Antar. The company was investigated by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, and Eddie was charged with a variety of crimes. He walked away with millions of dollars by cashing in stock, fled the country, was convicted of fraud, had his conviction overturned, and then eventually pleaded guilty to fraud charges. He ended up serving two years in jail.

As for the Microsoft deals, there's nothing fraudulent about them, and they're good ones. Both deals end March 2, so now's the time to get them if you're interested. They show that when it comes to the hardware business, Microsoft appears willing to use lowball prices, unlike in the software business. And it also shows that the company still is having trouble gaining traction in mobile. You won't see Apple willing to offer deals like that on iPads or iPhones. So the more deals you see like these from Microsoft, the less well its mobile efforts are likely doing.

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