Microsoft pays $400 million for product placement; Surface tablets fail during Patriots vs. Broncos playoff game

During what is guaranteed to be one of the most-watched NFL games of the year, the Divisional Playoffs between AFC powerhouses Denver Broncos and New England Patriots featuring future Hall of Fame quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 tablets failed spectacularly.

Microsoft pays the NFL $400 million to use fake iPads instead of the real thing to review plays on the sidelines. Microsoft has to feign success by paying entities like the NFL hundreds of millions just to use (or try to use) their wannabe products because the fact is that a single quarter of iPad Pro sales exceed the total of all Microsoft Surface tablets ever sold. The New England Patriots wish the NFL didn’t take the cash over real iPads since they were without working tablets for most of the first half of play.

With numerous mentions by the game’s announcers, including Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, including the oh-so-appropriate use of the word “frustrating” in tandem with “Microsoft,” Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 tablets failed utterly and spectacularly. Par for the Microsoft course. As with all Microsoft products, it was, of course, only a matter of time.

Since this whole deal is about perception, Microsoft just flushed another $400 million down the drain unless they intended to implicitly promote Apple’s iPad during what will likely be the NFL’s most-watched game of the season this side of the Super Bowl.

Check out the game video and the commentary on the failure of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4:

More nationally televised commentary on the abject failure of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4:


MacDailyNews Take: As always, Microsoft is a clown car of pure delight!

The NFL and the New England Patriots just came to a sad realization:

If it’s not an iPad, it’s not an iPad.

A single quarter of iPad Pro sales will exceed the total of all Microsoft Surface tablets ever sold – November 24, 2015
Microsoft pays $400 million for product placement, then NFL announcer calls Surface tablet ‘iPad-like’ on air – September 8, 2014
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. This was a network issue unrelated to Microsoft and get it right. It is Satya Nadella. All you Apple fans should be there to defend Microsoft when there is an injustice done. Because the same thing happens to Apple. We should all be for spirited competition but not for garbage articles like this one with false titles.

      1. From, “Microsoft was quick to blame network issues, although only the Patriot’s side experienced issues with them during the game. The Patriots ultimately lost to the Broncos by a narrow margin of 18-20.”

        1. Deflategate 2:

          Patriot’s Surface Pro 4 tablets fell flat and Microsoft Marketing Budget became a little deflated! Microsoft Execs were not mentioned, as everyone knows they are airheads!

        2. Could be that the teams are on separate networks and if the Patriot’s side experienced a network issue, how would having an ipad on the sidelines to review the play have helped the Patriots?

      2. Do you have a link other than the claim by MS that it (an unrelated network issue) was not their fault? I’ve not yet seen any proof of this on the web. If you do please share.

        As an aside, if I was in charge of MS and paid a company nearly a half billion dollars to have my flagship tablet continually plugged as the official tablet of the NFL, then I surely would want my own system engineers to install ALL of the necessary network backbone and associated pieces to ensure total in-house control in order to prevent this same disaster that has already happened on other occasions.

        If this stipulation was not in the contract at the time of signing then shame on MS and whoever negotiated it.

      3. Sorry, MS Windrones have been spouting inaccurate crap about Apple for decades and suddenly you want all the Apple fans to defend Microsoft?

        Sorry, I’m all out of sympathy.

    1. The NFL Mobil iPhone app was updated on 20 January 2016 and many, including myself can’t get the app to work. Got no help from support ( other than the typical suggestions. Most of the star ratings are one star. Ratings with more than one star are based on past performance and hope for a
      quick fix. I’m not as hopeful. I’ll be using other apps, and use the Mobil app as a tertiary source. I also won’t be buying the game passes. I wonder how many thousands of fans they alienated today? 🖖😀⌚️

    2. Well of course men with half a brain watch the NFL, along with all other sports. But, that half a brain is the maximum for all of those wanna be athletes.

      1. Microsoft has many billion dollar businesses. Apple has the iPhone. The stock is transitioning from a growth stock to a value stock. Kind of what happened to Microsoft. Except Microsoft is moving back to a growth stock.

  1. It’s funny that when they fail, they’re properly referred to as Microsoft Surface Tablets as opposed to how often they’ve been referred to incorrectly as iPads.

  2. Haven’t watched football seriously in a while.

    But this match which I missed would have been worth watching just to see the Surface fail ! lol.

    2) Note also that Apple only spends about a billion plus a year Advertising worldwide on everything (Macs, phones, software, retail, iPad etc) so 400 m is like a third of Apple’s entire ad budget.

    I always complained that apple doesn’t advertise enough especially Macs but maybe Cook looks at Msft and Samsung ad fails and say “why bother, they’re going to shoot themselves anyways.. “

      1. KingMel, well I am not exactly an Apple fan but I don’t like it when Apple is unfairly treated in the press or elsewhere. What comes around goes around. We may not like the other company but we should all be for fair play and competition. Microsoft has been unfairly treated. This was a network issue.

        1. It was a network issue. If the game had been played in NE and Denver had the problems then all over the news we’d hear how NE had cheated.

          I like what Microsoft is trying to do, supply a tablet with a real OS, meaning a full OS that can run desktop software that we already have. Apple can do it better so why does it take always take Apple so long to deliver even on simple things, remember cut and paste on the iPhone? Don’t give me the crap that to do it right takes time. It doesn’t take this much time. Until then we’re stuck with the same old iPad with its limited hardware or with the expensive Pro with its limited software.

          I like using my iPad but I find myself having to come up with reasons to use it. Most of the time it goes unused.

          1. Sure, it was likely a network issue. It is possible that the Surface tablets may not have had anything to do with it. But does that detract from the humor factor? Not a bit!

            The complaints that I am hearing sound like old fashioned sour grapes. It is funny when it happens to you (Apple), but it is totally unfair when it happens to me (Microsoft). Sure, I would love for news to be fair and balanced and factual on all topics, but things are trending in the exact opposite direction.

            And, Greg M., I could just as easily ask you why it took decades for Microsoft to deliver a successful tablet? I could ask why the Surface did not appear until after Apple paved the way with the iPad and agreed to cross-license IP with Microsoft? It is easy to play that game all the way back to pre-Windows day, and Microsoft is generally going to come out the loser.

            I am not saying that Apple cannot do better – they can. I am not saying that Apple should not do better – they should strive to do so every day. However, in comparison to every other technology company out there, Apple is leading the way and doing a pretty darn good job of changing the world in a positive sense. Is Apple perfect? Not even close. But I am not going to nitpick at Apple for every little perceived shortcoming. If people do not like Apple products, then ore with your dollar and start buying competitor’s products. Or, if you are really motivated, start trying to build something better on your own.

        2. See AAPLer’s comment above.

          MS never seemed to care when Apple was “unfairly treated” by the media or genera public impressions …when the true culprit was MS themselves. Remember all those crashes of MS Word on Macs back in the day? Then OS X came along and told people what was really going on: “MS Word just crashed. What would you like me to do now?” For me, that was the beginning of the Macs ascendence, and the beginning of MS’s travails. Either way, could not happen to nicer guys.

          MS ripped off a lot of stuff from Apple without acknowledging same. Others, too; many of which went out of business. MS fair play and competition? The thing with Apple and Apple Fans is pretty simple: we don’t forget who screwed us along the way.

      2. It very well might have been a network issue. I heard that they were hard lining the connections to patch the problem, although I have not seen any confirmation. I simply stated that I enjoyed watching Microsoft get reamed on national TV. I admit, I carry a grudge regarding the nasty way that Microsoft dealt with Apple over the decades.

        To be fair, I carry large and growing grudges against Google and Samsung. Microsoft might actually be in third place, now. Google is definitely the #1 evil.

        As far as “fairness” goes, perhaps the news outlets will straighten things out with the facts this week. It happens all of the time for Apple, right?!

  3. Hahahaha, mac fanboys, do tell me as an active investor what direction MSFT stock has been going, and then look at APPL stock and compare. Then tell me what huge financial firms such as Goldman sachs have rated Microsoft at. Hate all you want. MSFT is om the up, and APPL is om the decline. The last innovative thing that came from apple was in the Steve jobs era. The innovation died with jobs

    1. I love reading “Microsoft” and “Fail” in the same sentence. Brings back old Ballmer memories. Glad to see the tradition of garbage continues, even without him.

  4. Except the tablets (devices) didn’t actually fail. It was on the NFL as it was their software/network that failed. Let’s not let the facts get in the way though…

    1. networking happened on mac before microsoft
      more practice for connectivity the better
      and when you remove snooping, you get a more robust communication network

      Maybe they should have thought about capacity for NOT LETTING ANYONE WITH A TCP-IP ADDRESS PING THE NETWORK
      they probably did not even make the network hidden
      so write an app that allows continuous attempts at login to these sites,, then bang— spread a flash mob and bring the whole thing down HA HA MICROSOFT (oh wait, guess the poor patriots (not their owners) suffered, my condolences on the decisions made by the ignorant short sighted bunch in the tech end of thing

      think there are any MCSE techs involved?

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