Microsoft ignites Surface Duo controversy after last week’s announcement

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On Saturday morning we told you about Microsoft’s deal on the dual-screen Surface Duo. Microsoft knocked $200 off of both the model with 128GB of storage and the version that sports 256GB of storage. That takes the price down to $1,199 and $1,299 respectively. At Best Buy, purchase and activate the device on Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint to receive another $100 off. So the bottom line is that Best Buy is giving you the option to purchase Microsoft’s productivity tool for as low as $1,099.

Microsoft’s sale on the Surface Duo ignites price match controversy

While the deal will save new Surface Duo buyers a heady chunk of change, it has ignited something of a controversy for those who already purchased the phone at the original prices. Those buyers were not happy to find that the device that they bought in September was going on sale so quickly and some demanded a $200 refund to match Microsoft’s sale price for both the 128GB and 256GB variants.  According to a series of tweets from Surface Pro owner Brad Groux (via MSPoweruser), it appears that instead of simply issuing a $200 credit to those who bought the Surface Duo at the launch day prices, Microsoft wanted Surface Duo owners to go through a ridiculous process to match the sales price of both the 128GB and 256GB units.

Instead of making things easy, Microsoft asked Surface Duo owners to return their device, pocket a refund, and use the latter to repurchase a new unit. Since there is a 60-day return window that doesn’t expire until November, Surface Duo buyers would be well within their rights to return their handset at this time. But obviously, it would be easier if the manufacturer just sent out $200 checks. Groux had a dialogue on Twitter with a Microsoft chat team leader who said that most of the people that Microsoft spoke with are willing to return their old device and use the refund to purchase another Surface Duo. But Groux points out that this could be a “boderline SEC violation” since it could lead Microsoft to file inflated Surface Duo sales numbers.

The squeaky wheel gets the oil and as it turned out Groux was squeaking like a huge mouse. Even after receiving tweets insulting his decision to escalate his argument with Microsoft, it was the software giant that seems to have caved with the chat team leader telling David that Surface Duo buyers would be offered a partial refund to match the new sales price once upper management issues an update.

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that the conversation took a turn in Groux’s favor after he questioned in his tweet whether top brass at Microsoft such as CEO Satya Nadella and Chief Product Officer Panos Panay are on board with the original plan to refund and replace Surface Duo handsets. If you paid $1,399 (128GB) or $1,499 (256GB) for your Surface Duo, you might want to give Microsoft a call or send a tweet to see exactly what your options are now and what they could be later.

The Surface Duo features a pair of 5.6-inch AMOLED displays that use a breakthrough hinge that when opened to 180 degrees, delivers an 8.1-inch tablet-sized display. Google developed some optimized Android apps for the device while Microsoft provides optimized Office apps. Both Google and Microsoft reworked their software to take advantage of the dual-screen setup on the device.
Even though the Surface Duo isn’t a foldable phone similar to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, it does offer some of the same capabilities including the ability to turn a handset into a tablet in a heartbeat when a larger display is called for.

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