Trade in a Macbook Air for a Surface Pro? In your dreams, Microsoft.

Microsoft is so serious about pushing the Surface Pro 3 as a laptop replacment that it has launched a campaign to get people to trade in their Macbook Airs and use the credit towards buying a Surface. Nice try, Microsoft, but this campaign is a non-starter.

The offer requires that you bring your Macbook Air to a Microsoft store, where it will be examined and you'll be given credit towards buying a Surface Pro 3. As Computerworld's Gregg Keizer reports, the maximum offer is $650, and that amount:

"...will likely be awarded only to relatively new 13-in. MacBook Airs that have been tricked out with the optional faster processor and 512GB of storage space, both of which are available as expensive upgrades from the base model at the time of purchase."

The selling price of such a tricked-out Macbook Air is $1,649, Keizer reports.

Even with the $650 trade-in, you'd still have to fork out a minimum of $479 for a Surface Pro, given the device's $1,129 price when you buy it with a keyboard. And most people, of course, won't have a top-of-the-line Macbook Air, so will be paying hundreds of dollars more, especially if they get anything more than the entry-level Surface Pro 3.

To put it mildly, this makes no sense. The Macbook Air is far superior to the Surface Pro 3 as a laptop. In my deep dive review of the Surface Pro 3 for Computerworld, I used the Surface Pro 3 instead of one of my normal laptops, a Macbook Air, and found the Surface Pro 3 much inferior. Its keyboard isn't as good, the screen is smaller than the 13.3-inch Macbook Air, and Windows 8.1 simply isn't as usable as Mac OS X.

That means that even a straight-up trade-in -- hand over a Macbook Air and get a free Surface Pro 3 -- makes no sense. But having to pay at least $479 as well? It won't happen.

I'm not sure that Microsoft expects to get many trade-ins. Mac owners tend to be a loyal bunch, and having them pay so much money to go over to what they view as the enemy for an inferior device is a mere fantasy. It may be that Microsoft is launching this campaign just to get a bit of publicity. But it won't change market share an iota.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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