Harvey Norman are having a half yearly clearance sale, with the Microsoft Basic Optical Mouse reduced from the recommended retail price of $19.95 down to $8. At the same time Microsoft are having a 25% cashback offer on hardware. The redemption is based on the RRP, so you get $5.00 back, resulting in the mouse costing $3.
I was curious as to how Microsoft could run a cashback offer on low value items, such as mice. The way the system works is that you enter the details into a web page, along with your bank account number. The system gives you a redemption number, which you include with a copy of the purchase receipt and send by mail. This way Microsoft doesn't have the expense of sending cheques or of entering the financial details for the bank into their computer. They may not even go to the trouble of checking the redemption numbers. But presumably the details of what was sold by which retailer for how much is of value to them.
Microsoft had a box to check if I wanted details of Microsoft products. I did not check the box and it will be interesting to see if Microsoft can resist the temptation to send me unsolicited junk mail. The Terms and Conditions state: "The Promoter will only use your personal details for marketing purposes outside those described above if you “opt in” to join the mailing list when prompted.".
The mouse works fine under Linux. The box has three logos on the side: one for "Certified for Windows Vista", one for "Mac" and the third labelled "universal". At first I thought this third "Yin Yang" symbol might be a Microsoft euphemism for "Linux", but it turns out this is the Apple logo to indicate compatibility between Mac Power PC and OSX Operating Systems.
pps: The terms a little worryingly also state: "There is a risk that injury or death may result from participating in this part of the competition. ". Hopefully this is about the option of winning a flight in a Strikemaster Jet, and not some fatal flaw in Microsoft mice. ;-)