First-generation Surface owners have complained that Microsoft won't buy their used tablets to fund their jones for the new editions slated to ship in three weeks, but other markets can actually return much more cash than any trade-in program.
Online auctioneer eBay is a good example.
According to eBay, which Computerworld asked to mine its data, the average selling price of a first-generation 32GB Surface RT tablet is currently $285.
The Surface RT debuted almost a year ago at $499 with 32GB of internal storage space -- reduced to approximately 15GB for user content because of the operating system and its restoration files -- but now sells for $349 after being heavily discounted this summer.
Meanwhile, a 128GB Surface Pro tablet sells for an average $741 on eBay, the company said.
Surface Pro, launched in February, runs a full-fledged version of Windows 8 able to handle legacy applications, and is not a scaled-back device like the Surface RT, which is capable of running only tile-style "Modern," nee "Metro," apps. A 128GB Surface Pro originally cost $999 without a cover-keyboard, but it, too, was reduced this summer by Microsoft, and currently lists for $899.
Microsoft also sells a 64GB Surface Pro for $799, or $100 less than its initial price.
The new tablets, the Surface 2, a replacement for the Surface RT, and the Surface Pro 2, will reach retail on Oct. 22, and start at prices of $449 and $899, respectively, for a 32GB or 64GB device.
During a two-hour Reddit-hosted "Ask Me Anything" last week, owners of Microsoft's first-generation tablets urged the company to run a trade-in or buyback program so they could apply their returns to the new models.
Several commenters, however, scoffed at such a deal. Instead, they steered people to the open market.
"Try Craigslist or eBay, it takes 5 minutes to make an Ad and youll [sic] get more $$ for it," said "Daylife321" in one example.
According to eBay's figures, Daylife321 was on to something.
The average selling price for a 128GB Surface Pro is $741, the auctioneer said, although this one will probably close at a much lower price.
On Monday, buyback firms Gazelle and NextWorth quoted $117 and $187 for a 32GB Surface RT, respectively, and $370 and $338 for a 128GB Surface Pro.
eBay's average selling price of $285 for the 32GB Surface RT was 144% and 52% higher than the Gazelle and NextWorth quotes, respectively. The auction website's average sales price of $741 for a 128GB Surface Pro was 100% and 119% higher than Gazelle and NextWorth, respectively.
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