Microsoft pays $400 million for product placement, then NFL announcer calls Surface tablet ‘iPad-like’ on air

“In among the larger-than-life humans on NFL sidelines this season, you’ll notice a slew of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 tablets,” Vlad Savov reports for The Verge. Microsoft committed to “spend $400 million on an exclusive advertising and equipment deal with the NFL.”

“The tablets are encased in chunky cyan protective cases and have been attracting the attention of the broadcast commentators when put to use,” Savov reports. “The only problem is that the announcers don’t seem to have been briefed on the name, leaving them to describe Microsoft’s slates as ‘iPad-like tools.'”

Read more in the full article here.

Back in May, Bryan Bishop reported for The Verge, “Coaches and players will have access to Surface tablets to aid in play calling and other in-game needs, an area that has been dominated by the iPad up until this point. Microsoft will be named ‘The Official Sideline Technology Sponsor of the NFL,’ with the Surface called out as ‘the official tablet’ of the league.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Microsoft is a silly, stupid, dysfunctional entity whose greatest (and, arguably, only real) success was an upside-down and backwards Apple knockoff (Mac OS) upon which they piggybacked a bloated office suite, a godawful web browser, and some mice. Everything else they touch that’s not related to their pretend Mac OS or forced onto their hapless customers via their Mac OS wannabe is an abject, laughingstock failure (Zune, Kin, Surface, etc.) and/or an endless money pit (Xbox, Windows Phone). To see these dummies blowing $400 million in order to basically promote Apple’s revolutionary iPad during NFL games is not at all unexpected, yet infinitely satisfying.

As we explained back in October 2012 in yet another prescient Take that even Microsoft could have read, long before they were forced to swallow a $900 million write-off over their Surface flop and chose exactly the wrong CEO to try to clean up Ballmer T. Clown’s mess:

That dumbass kickstand is yet another ill-considered, misguided, corporate committee-driven “differentiation” squirted out of Microsoft’s back door unbidden onto the public.

Microsoft is staffed with stupid and/or lazy people. There’s no other explanation besides crippling narcissism – which is a very real possibility. Most people use iPads while lounging around. All Microsoft’s Surface “team” had to do was buy some real iPads and use them for a few weeks. Steve Jobs himself even demonstrated the iPad while reclining in a comfy leather chair, not sitting upright at a friggin’ desk. Microsoft was shown the way and, once again, they failed to properly follow Apple’s lead. By now, that’s just stupid and/or lazy.

Microsoft suffers from delusions of grandeur. They think they matter and that people will buy their pretend iPad over other pretend iPads because it’s from Microsoft. Microsoft does not matter. Microsoft no longer has the power to sell superfluous products. The world already has iPad. The thinking world finally woke up and moved on from Microsoft’s soul-sapping dreck. That clueless Microsoft haven’t figured this out years ago (Zune, Kin, how many total face-plants do they need?) is illustrative of the depths of their delusions.

As with Zune, Kin, and Surface, Microsoft is unnecessary in today’s world. Their rapidly retiring/expiring IT Doofus firewall is the only thing keeping them around today.

And that’s not going to last much longer, either.

[Attribution: CNET. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Arline M.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone says his Microsoft Surface tablet ‘didn’t work’ for portion of game – August 4, 2014
How Apple’s iPad is revolutionizing NFL playbooks for players and coaches – July 19, 2012
Miami Dolphins latest to replace huge paper playbooks with Apple iPads – June 24, 2012
Cincinnati Bengals go digital with iPad playbooks, join dozen other NFL teams – June 15, 2012
Denver Broncos NFL team transfers traditional playbooks to Apple iPads – April 23, 2012
NFL’s Tampa Bay Bucs give every player an Apple iPad 2 to hold playbook, video – August 25, 2011
NFL teams considering replacing playbooks with Apple iPads – February 4, 2011


    1. At first I thought how upset Microsoft must be that their surface is called “iPad-like” after spending all that money on sponsorship. But then I realized that $400 million is a pretty cheap price to pay to have their dopey Surface tablet elevated to the same status as an iPad. Just think about it. If I could buy a Mazda Miata and someone said they saw me in a Porsche-like car… just imagine how happy I would be!!

        1. Yeah, and given it’ll cost a month’s wages for the average person just to replace one tyre on a Porche, let alone four, and don’t get me started on insurance and fuel, whereas a Mazda Miata/MX-5 is not only very affordable for an average person, they’re remarkably reliable, handle beautifully, and last for years.
          And don’t forget, a Porche is just a Volkswagen wearing a party frock.
          In fact, a Miata is everything a Surface isn’t; reliable, fun to use, lasts forever…
          Sounds like an iPad, actually.

    1. Its hilarious watching the Fox NFL Pre Game, where each guy has an ugly surface on the desk. I KNOW one day, they’ll come back to camera and one of the guys will accidentally have his iPad or iPhone out in the open. Then the NFL will be canned.

    2. No amount of marketing bribery is going to make real customers want to buy a crappy kludge product. Microsoft might as well provide funding to bring back the cancelled scifi police show “Almost Human,” but replace the sidekick android partner with “Cortana,” the sentient Surface tablet of the future. That would be more believable (and less costly) than these getting these NFL guys to pretend they are choosing a Surface over an iPad. They’re TV announcers, not actors… 🙂

  1. The very idea of a tablet on the sidelines is a bit weird.And It Gets Where When You Consider That That Tablet Was a Surface.

    It was even funnier to see the pre-game and post game dudes with their garish blue surface tablets.

    Besides, I don’t know that that’s a kind of device that you want out on a bright sunny day for football. It looks like everyone who is using them was struggling. I noticed many coordinators reverting back to photographs on paper, which may be the best way to do the game.

    1. Prior to this year I’ve seen iPads being used on the sidelines, maybe this deal forbids Apple stuff on the sidelines.
      So when the Surface fails, they have no other choice but go to photographs.

    1. Would those 20,000 staff (at a cost of about $1 billion) have generated more than a billion dollars in revenue for the company? Now, will that $400 million campaign generate more than $400 million worth of sales? That’s what they are looking at.

  2. The Guys on the halftime show had propped up surfaces in front of them which were entirely ignored. On one of the preseason games the announcer asked Tony Romo about his “iPad” and then went on to discuss how much he liked and used his iPad with his broadcast partner- saying “iPad” 11 more times…it was sweet!

  3. @Microsoft will be named ‘The Official Sideline Technology Sponsor of the NFL,’ with the Surface called out as ‘the official tablet’ of the league.”

    Can’t wait for that future MDN headline, “Microsoft Technology of the NFL Officially Sidelined”. Meanwhile, “the official tablet” will be a Tums.

  4. apple spends about $1 billion in total for marketing around the world.

    that’s for iPhones, iPads, Macs, iPods, iTunes, Retail Stores, Software etc.

    so just for Surface NFL Msft is spending near half of Apple’s total ad budget.

    And anti apple trolls keep saying Apple makes ‘toys’ and only succeeds due to massive marketing…

    1. They dont have a Surface 3 yet. Youre thinking of the Surface Pro 3. Their two current models are the Pro 3 and the Surface 2. I work at Best Buy and i feel bad each time someone buys one

  5. “Microsoft will be named ‘The Official Sideline Technology Sponsor of the NFL,’ with the Surface called out as ‘the official tablet’ of the league.”

    Sorry NFL, but I fing that more offensive then a Washington team named ‘Redskins’!!!!

    1. i personally don’t find the name washington ‘redskins’ offensive at all. now, the cleveland ‘browns’ — that’s offensive! where are reverends (and i use the term loosely and not in the traditional sense) james and sharpton when you really need them?

      1. “The Cleveland All-America Football Conference franchise conducted a fan contest in 1945 to name the team. The most popular submission was Browns in recognition of the team’s first coach and general manager Paul Brown.”

        Not quite so much but thanks for playing!

  6. Internet Explorer for the Mac was actually the first usable browser available. Who remembers Netscape Navigator and how god-awful SLOW it was! Oh man, it was painful! I was excited when IE came out and was actually usable.

  7. Microsoft did a similar thing with the Rugby World Cup. I note that now back into the day to day league program everyone is back to using Macs and indeed they are increasingly being seen in the Premiership where computers hadn’t really been seen before.

  8. Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 tablets,” … Microsoft committed to “spend $400 million on an exclusive advertising and equipment deal with the NFL.”

    The Microsoft Surface 3 has been shipping since Spring 2014!!! Will Microsoft be updating the NFL offering? Is the NFL accepting old technology? Perhaps the NFL will serve as a test site for MS development. Yes, the Surface can run the NFL software developed for Windows beyond WinXP.

  9. Why do they have those surface things propped up and don’t use them. They still have a stack of notes in front of them and I haven’t seen one of them using one yet. I also saw one of the big azz tables being used on ESPN earlier today. So much for marketing, because people will use what works.

  10. The NFL is the biggest corporate welfare queen in these United States. They get the public to build them stadiums, get local governments to give them special revenue kickbacks on everything in the stadium, plaster everything with advertising, extort money from cable customers by not allowing us to opt out of their welfare scam, black out every game that does not sell out ands then tell us how they are a private business.

    M$ and the NFL deserve each other.

  11. What an odd article. First time ever reading a macworld article or whatever site this is on. Why would anyone care so passionately about the type of tablet being used? I’m very confused.

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