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Apple Back-to-School Deal Pales to Microsoft's Offer

Instead of a pricey, top of the line MP3 player, Apple is offering 10 percent off and a lousy $100 iTunes gift card.

The back-to-school season is a great time for new students (or people who have latched on to their old college IDs) to get discounts on laptops and other computer gear -- not to mention awesome freebies that big PC companies throw in. Traditionally, Apple has one of the best giveaways: a free iPod touch with the purchase of a Mac. But this year, Apple went to the Land of the Lame, and was easily bested by Microsoft's superior special.

Instead of a pricey, top of the line MP3 player, Apple has gone Ebenezer and ditched its flagship deal. Now all students get when they buy a new Mac between June 16 and Sept. 20 is 10 percent off and a lousy $100 iTunes gift card that can be used on iTunes, the Mac App Store, the iOS App Store or for iBooks.

On the other side of the Mac vs. PC spectrum, between now and Sept. 3, if you buy any Windows 7 computer starting at $699, Microsoft will throw in a free Xbox 360 4GB console. Or if you don't want an Xbox, which retails for $199, you can get 10 percent off your purchase. But c'mon -- free Xbox!

If you're still gunning for a Mac, you can deck out your new MacBook or iMac with apps so fun your head will explode, like Apple's iWork productivity suite, or a conservative checkbook balancing app to calculate your awe-inspiring savings. Meanwhile, your neighbors at the dorm will be blasting the Xbox's Call of Duty: Black Ops at top volume, running, gunning, making friends.

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