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Microsoft Paying for Apple's Next Product Cycle

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Microsoft (MSFT) recently announced that it will pay at least $200 in in-store credit for an iPad trade-in. While the stipulations vary, it just goes to show that Apple (AAPL) has such a tight grip on the tablet market, competitors are willing to pay for its customers, instead of winning them over the old-fashioned way.

By offering $200, many consumers that have the older iPad models, may be willing to give Microsoft's Surface tablet a shot.

However, it may be easy to forget that the Surface has not exactly been a successful tablet thus far. In July it was revealed that Microsoft would be taking a $900 million write-off on its Surface RT inventory. In other words, the consumers aren't really fans.

Now, those same consumers that weren't buying the Surface -- and were instead buying iPads -- can get paid to give Microsoft a second chance. But is that really a good idea, ahead of Apple's impending iPad refresh?

Of course not.

While there was plenty of hype leading up to the recent iPhone event on Sept. 10, the potentially upcoming iPad event later this fall is, for the most part, being overlooked. While some may still be seething over Apple's seemingly sluggish response to bring new products to the market, it would be a lie to say the new iPhones weren't pretty awesome.

They're fast, sleek, sexy and powerful. With fingerprint technology and a 64-bit processor, it's something the market's never seen before. The iPads, I can imagine, won't be any less thrilling.

On top of all the new gizmos and technologies is an improved operating system. I think this is actually very important.

By creating iOS 7 and having it integrated among all of its mobile devices, Apple is entrenching its users even deeper into its lucrative and enticing ecosystem. When I write an article on my iMac, I can quickly find it on my iPad or iPhone via iCloud. When I want to listen to a song or look at a picture, the iCloud makes it all that much easier to share my own information with myself, however silly that may sound.

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