Microsoft's NFL Surface Deal Looking A Little Sour Now
I think the general consensus of opinion is that Microsoft took three goes to get the Surface tablet right, but when it did finally all click - with the Surface Pro 3 - Microsoft had a winner on its hands. Putting to one side two decades of consumer and media apathy, Microsoft had its first real consumer hit since Windows 95.
The deal to get the tablet used on the sidelines by NFL coaching staff seemed like the icing on the cake. A big win for a company that struggles to score points in marketing.
And then they started getting used and the problems began.
First sportscasters were calling the Surfaces iPads - hardly ideal marketing material. Then problems started occurring. Ironically not with the Surfaces, but because Microsoft and the Surface were in the frontline it was the Surface that took the brunt of the bad publicity. When wireless problems knocked out the tablets it was reported as a problem with Microsoft's tablet.
The we had the video of Bill Belichick smashing his NFL provided Surface in frustration - a video that went viral and there was no question what sort of tablet was being used that day.
Belichick has now taken the damage a step further, in a press conference last night he slammed the concept of electronic tablets and the infrastructure that supports them, giving vent to frustrations that have built up over the season.
Belichick's team, the Patriots, will be going back to good old pen and paper for the rest of the season. Microsoft will probably need to reconsider its $400m deal with the NFL and customers (in the US anyway) will probably take another turn down the iPad aisle next time they're shopping for a new machine.