(SEATTLE) -- While Walmart and Apple are launching their own smartphone trade-in programs, Microsoft has a different take. Microsoft announced on Thursday evening that it will take your iPad off your hands and give you a $200 credit. The catch? The credit is usable only at the Microsoft Store and the company is hoping you'll want to take that fresh cash and spend it on its Surface RT or Pro tablet.
The Surface Pro, the Windows 8 tablet that is aimed at the professional market, costs $799. The Surface RT, which runs a stripped down version of Windows 8 that doesn't run legacy Windows programs, starts at $349.
But there are two things to consider before you head to the closest Microsoft Store. The first is that the second generation of the Surface is coming soon. Microsoft is set to hold an event in New York City on Sept. 23 to announce its newest tablet. The second is that the iPad is still considered to be a better tablet by reviewers.
While the Surface provides access to Microsoft's Office software and has some better multitasking features -- as you might have seen in Microsoft's TV commercials -- the iPad boasts access to more tablet apps and a longer battery life, among other things.
"There have been many reasons for the iPad's greater popularity," Ross Rubin, a principal analyst at Rectile Research, told ABC News. "These have included a far greater number of apps, including many popular ones, and a lower entry price point, particularly since the launch of the iPad mini."
While Apple sold 1.46 million iPads in the third quarter of 2013, Microsoft took a $900 million write-down in the last quarter due to unsold inventory of the Surface. As a result, the company cut the price of the Pro tablet by $100.
Microsoft is likely to address some of the issues in the next Surface models. Rumors point to the tablets having improved internals, a more advanced kickstand and the availability of a smaller-screened version. All models are sure to run Windows 8.1, the updated version of Windows 8 that will be released on Oct. 17. Microsoft's iPad trade-in offer ends on Oct. 27, 10 days later. But to complicate matters even more, it is around that time too that Apple is expected to release some new iPads.
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