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. 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.
But back to my main point: Microsoft is going to drive post-iPad customers willing to try something new, right back into Apple's arms. By offering the trade-in credit, some open-minded individuals will likely give the Surface a shot, acknowledging that their iPad is feeling a little dated. Trying a non-iOS product and attempting to integrate it into their iOS lives will not likely be a pleasant experience. Follow @BretKenwell This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.