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Microsoft bribes MacBook Air users to buy Surface Pro 3

It is no secret Microsoft is marketing its new Surface Pro 3 Windows 8.1 hybrid as a direct rival to Apple's venerable MacBook Air ultrabook.

Both are premium devices that are similarly priced (Surface Pro 3 is more expensive, however, when purchased with Type Cover) and offered in near-identical configurations, power-wise, which yield comparable battery life (MacBook Air is better in this regard, even if only by mere hours). However, Surface Pro 3 offers extra features, like a touchscreen and tablet credentials, which can, arguably, make it more appealing.

Microsoft's best chance of persuading MacBook Air users to switch to Surface Pro 3 is come upgrade time, as, right now at least, this upgrade, as appealing as it may be for those willing to dump OS X for Windows, is not worth the cost penalty. Microsoft appears to be aware of this, as it launched a new trade-in offer for MacBook Air owners. And, unexpectedly I might add, the Surface Pro 3 maker offers quite a bit in return.

Related: Microsoft Surface Pro 3 vs Apple iPad Air spec comparison

On Microsoft Store, the software giant reveals that MacBook Air users who are willing to trade-in their Apple-branded ultrabook for the new Windows 8.1 hybrid will get up to $650 (£381) in credit towards the price of Surface Pro 3.

Microsoft clearly mentions this deal is only valid for "select" versions of the MacBook Air, and can be taken advantage of only until the end of July, this year (that would be 31 July 2014). And, it looks like it is only valid in US and Canada, and for those who trade in their MacBook Air ultrabooks in "select" Microsoft Stores.

What Microsoft does not clearly mention is which MacBook Air models fall under the terms of this deal and which of its stores offer this deal to customers. I have reached out to the software giant for a comment, and will update this story as I receive a statement. Right now, up to £381 in credit sounds like a good deal. On the other hand, for, probably, millions of MacBook Air users living outside of US and Canada, this means nothing. Too bad, Microsoft.