Microsoft on Friday launched yet another trade-in program to convince
consumers to switch to a Windows device, this time aimed at iPhone
On its Microsoft Store website,
Microsoft outlined the new deal: It will accept "gently used" iPhone 4S
and iPhone 5 smartphones -- the 2011 and 2012 editions, respectively --
and pay a minimum of $200 for each. The Redmond, Wash. technology
company will issue the funds as a gift card good for purchases at the
As in the iPad buyback program
that debuted two weeks ago, customers must bring their used iPhones to a
retail outlet in the U.S., Canada or Puerto Rico -- trade-ins are not
supported online -- where a sales representative will evaluate the
device and decide on the dollar amount. Microsoft has 77 stores in the
U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.
"Microsoft Store gift-card value ...
is subject to Microsoft's discretion and manager approval," the website
said. "All trade-ins are final. Cannot be redeemed for cash. Limit 1
The gift cards that result from an iPhone trade-in
can be used for anything Microsoft sells in its stores, including its
Surface tablets and third-party PCs, but the deal is clearly intended to
tempt Apple's current customers into switching to a Windows Phone like
the Nokia Lumia 1020.
That may be a very tough pitch.
According to market research company ChangeWave, 70% of iPhone owners polled said they were "very satisfied"
with their purchase, the top-ranked percentage in the survey, which
also noted that the second-most satisfied customers were ones who had a
Samsung smartphone: 54% of those people said they were "very satisfied"
with their device.
Like the earlier iPad deal, Microsoft's iPhone
buyback program isn't available online so it's impossible to tell what
the company's salespeople will pay for an iPhone before getting in the
car. Re-commerce vendors such as Gazelle and NextWorth, which do operate
online, pay between $190 and $210 for a working 16GB iPhone 4S on
AT&T's network, and between $290 and $304 for a 16GB AT&T iPhone
5. The lower prices for both devices were quoted by Gazelle, the higher
prices by NextWorth.
Microsoft also has a broader buyback program in place that operates online,
and that accepts a wide variety of rivals' devices, including the
iPhone. That program produced trade-in quotes for the same 16GB AT&T
iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 of $160 and $250, respectively, or between 16%
and 24% less for the iPhone 4S, between 14% and 18% less for the iPhone
5, than Gazelle and NextWorth.
Not surprisingly, the new buyback
program does not accept Microsoft's own Surface tablets as trade-ins;
none of Microsoft's current deals do. That's triggered complaints by
owners of the company's first-generation tablets, who last week urged Microsoft to offer cash for their Surface RT and Surface Pro devices so that they could trade up to the second-generation Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 when they go on sale Oct. 22.
iPhone buyback program expires Nov. 3. Apple has already launched new
smartphones -- the flagship iPhone 5S and the lower-priced iPhone 5C --
but the former is in very short supply, with current orders slated to ship at an unspecified date next month.