In a trade-in program launched on Monday, Microsoft is again luring Apple device owners to make the switch to Windows by offering Surface Pro 3 buyers up to $650 in store credit for certain MacBook Air models.
With its latest incentive, Microsoft is clearly saying it perceives the new Surface hardware to be in direct competition with Apple's popular thin-and-light laptop lineup, not the iPad.
Priced at $799, the low end Intel Core i3 Surface Pro 3 is $100 less than an entry-level 11-inch MacBook Air and $200 less than the 13-inch Air. Considering a maximum trade-in value, customers could cut the Surface's price of entry down to $150. However, the only Surface Pro 3 models currently available are Intel Core i5 configurations priced at $999 and $1,299. It is not clear if the trade-in offer applies to the other models, which are currently up for pre-order.
When Microsoft unveiled the Surface Pro 3 in May, CEO Panos Panay said the hybrid device is an all-in-one answer to tablet users who also own a laptop, which apparently describes 96 percent of iPad owners.
Compared to the 13-inch MacBook Air, the Surface Pro 3 is much lighter at just 800 grams, but makes concessions with a smaller 12-inch screen and snap-on keyboard cover. Microsoft's machine does, however, tout a higher-resolution display, touch input, a pressure-sensitive stylus and the ability to run a full version of Windows 8.1 Pro.
The MacBook Air offer is only good at select brick-and-mortar Microsoft Store outlets in the U.S. and Canada and is limited to one trade-in per purchase. Currently, the offer runs through July 31, though Microsoft has previously extended successful trade-in promotions.
Microsoft notes trade-in values may vary depending on MacBook Air model and condition. MacBooks with cracked screens or water damage will not be accepted.