It's not surprising that Best Buy offered to exchange used Surface tablets for gift cards: The U.S. electronics retailer is tight with Microsoft.
In June, Microsoft announced a deal with Best Buy to create 600 stores-within-stores in the U.S. and Canada to sell customers on Windows 8, the Surface tablet line, and new PCs and devices from other OEMs. Most of the store-inside-store remodels have been completed.
The "Windows Store" — as they're called — have replaced Best Buy's computer department in the 600 stores, 500 of them in the U.S., the remainder in Canada.
Although Microsoft and Best Buy have not disclosed the financial details of the deal, one retail analyst called it a clear win for the latter. "This is a big win for Best Buy," said Stephen Baker of NPD Group, in a June interview. "They get a free remodel of their PC department in 600 stores."
Microsoft has approximately 70 of its own stores, many of them small store fronts, in the U.S. and Canada.
Best Buy did not respond to questions about whether Microsoft was funding or supporting the Surface buyback program.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.