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Microsoft Portables The Media News Technology

Microsoft Paid NFL $400 Million To Use Surface, But Announcers Call Them iPads 405

mpicpp sends this news from Business Insider: Prior to the season, Microsoft and the NFL struck a 5-year, $400 million deal with one of the major components being that the Microsoft Surface would become "the official tablet of the NFL," with coaches and players using the Surface on the sidelines during games. But Microsoft and the league ran into a problem during week one of the season when at least two television announcers mistakenly referred to the tablets as iPads, giving a huge rival some unexpected exposure. The biggest blunder for the league came during the nationally televised Monday Night Football game when ESPN's Trent Dilfer joked about how long it took Cardinals assistant head coach Tom Moore to "learn how to use the iPad to scroll through the pictures." In a separate incident, Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints was spotted by Fox commentator John Lynch using a Surface on the sideline. Lynch remarked that Brees was "not watching movies on his iPad.
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Microsoft Paid NFL $400 Million To Use Surface, But Announcers Call Them iPads

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  • Hahahaha (Score:4, Funny)

    by Shaman ( 1148 ) <shaman@kos. n e t> on Thursday September 11, 2014 @07:49AM (#47879349) Homepage

    That's rich.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What did you expect from retards?

    • Re:Hahahaha (Score:5, Informative)

      by phrostie ( 121428 ) on Thursday September 11, 2014 @08:49AM (#47879817)

      I use an android tablet to control and display timed exposures(or digitally zoom planetary objects) with my telescope/camera at star parties.
      everyone always assumes it's an ipad.
      ipad has become a generic term for a tablet.

      the NFL thing is funny, but not surprising.

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Thursday September 11, 2014 @07:50AM (#47879357)

    and a lot of the Announcers are former players

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Or maybe they just don't give a fuck whether it's an iPad, Surface or some kind of Android tablet.

      You know, just like the rest of us...

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 11, 2014 @08:32AM (#47879705)

        Most of "the rest of us" do give a fuck if it's an iPad or a not-iPad :)

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo&world3,net> on Thursday September 11, 2014 @09:35AM (#47880251) Homepage Journal

        I bet Apple does though. The last thing they want is "iPad" becoming so generic they lose the trademark, like hoover or cellophane or escalator or sellotape.

        • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Thursday September 11, 2014 @10:02AM (#47880489) Journal

          For Apple, the genericization of the term iPad is a double-edged sword. It waters down the trademark, while at the same time pointing everyone back to the source. It is one of the reasons I believe AppleWatch is not an iWatch. In fact, the whole "i-Thingy" is probably dead now. As for the NFL and Surface, that is gonna be a long term problem. The term "Surface" is an actual word, used beyond computers. It is really a dumb name to use for trademarked device.

          And a Surface is nothing more than a crappy overpriced under performing laptop that wants to be a tablet. Either that, or an expensive Tablet that also wants to be a laptop. You need a laptop, you'll buy a full laptop for less than the cost of a Surface, and have a better machine. AND if you need a tablet, you buy tablet for less than a Surface. And if you need both, you get both, and use them both.

          • by bigman2003 ( 671309 ) on Thursday September 11, 2014 @10:43AM (#47880995) Homepage

            Surface user here to respectfully disagree. The Surface is an awesome device that can be used for all sorts of good.

            When people see me using my Surface as a tablet, they are then amazed when I show them the USB port (so simple...but why not on iPad?) and keyboard. Yes, the keyboard seems strange at first, but I really do use my Surface about 50/50 keyboard on/off. I've been popping that thing on and off for a few years and I really like it.

            When people see me using it as a laptop, they are then surprised when I take off the keyboard, pop out the kickstand, and use it as a movie viewing tablet. OR, when I am out in the field and pop open Photoshop express to do some quick photo editing with my fingers. In about 6 seconds (really) I can have a photo cropped and 'shared'.

            You are right, it is a tablet that wants to be a laptop, and a laptop that wants to be a tablet. Not cheap by any means but worth it for me.

            I can tell you that from my perspective, this is the best device in either the tablet or laptop class for my use. Previously my Surface was also my desktop- but a new job brought on a ridiculously over-powered desktop that I would be crazy not to use. Now my Surface spends the day as my music player until I need to go out, then it is my usual note-taker.

            ***All that being said, we have a few other SP2's floating around in my organization that are barely used because people have no idea what they can/should be doing with them. Some were purchased after they saw my 'success' and I really want to say, "hmm...maybe you should have gotten an ipad..."

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              USB port? Why is that important? I don't carry mice, keyboards or even thumbdrives. USB is the new Floppy. About the ONLY thing I use USB for these days is charging my peripherals. Wireless (Bluetooth, WI-FI) are much more important features to have, and quite honestly, are ubiquitous on devices. Heck properly configured Projector uses Ethernet for displaying, no Display Port dongle needed.

              And having used an iPad and Surface, I always go back to my Android tablet, as it just gets everything right. Size is r

              • by David_Hart ( 1184661 ) on Thursday September 11, 2014 @11:38AM (#47881661)

                USB port? Why is that important? I don't carry mice, keyboards or even thumbdrives. USB is the new Floppy. About the ONLY thing I use USB for these days is charging my peripherals. Wireless (Bluetooth, WI-FI) are much more important features to have, and quite honestly, are ubiquitous on devices. Heck properly configured Projector uses Ethernet for displaying, no Display Port dongle needed.

                Obviously you do not travel much or you take your laptop with you when you do. I only take my tablet and use it to back up my photos to USB sticks and watch video (Micro-SD cards) on the airplane. I agree that Bluetooth is better for connecting mice and keyboards. However, USB sticks are much more useful and universal for transferring data.

                What's more telling is that every tablet vendor that does not have built-in USB ports have USB adapters. The only reason why they don't include a USB port (likely a 25 cent part) in their tablets is because they realize that they can make more money on selling the peripherals.

                In the same theme, having a micro-HDMI or DisplayPort is a must have for me as well. I use it to hook up to TVs when on vacation to watch movies.

              • by bigman2003 ( 671309 ) on Thursday September 11, 2014 @11:50AM (#47881815) Homepage

                USB is important for a few reasons:

                #1- ingesting photos. OR even better, tethered shooting. Cameras use USB ports for data transfer and control of the camera. The time to preview pictures is while you are taking them, not when you return to the office. Not saying you can't do this with other platforms, but you can do this with EVERY camera using Surface/USB.

                #2- Printers. Sure, wireless printing is great...sometimes. Again, most every printer works with USB. I've been visiting other locations, need to print something and the IT guy rolls his eyes when he sees I need to print a document from a tablet. Once he sees Surface/USB it's like, "Oh..okay, no problem, plug in here." Nobody wants to install some stupid app to let me print.

                #3- Wired networking. Again, wireless is great- but sometimes it is not an option. A wired network dongle has saved me a few times.

                #4- odd peripherals. Just last Friday I had to provide a butt-ton of files to a lawyer for 'discovery'. They provided an external hard-drive (Aegis Padlock Drive). USB...sure, plug that sucker in and I'll give you all the files you need.

                In a professional environment I don't always have control over what I need to connect to. USB has been the most ubiquitous port over the last 10 years. Not having it on your computer locks out out of a LOT of stuff.

                My Surface Pro 2 runs Photoshop just fine. Admittedly I don't use it as my primary editing machine (screen size) but when I need it, it is there. Not sure why you say the Surface is underpowered, I would say it is 'run of the mill' in performance. In 2013/2014 that means, "It is an absolute breeze to do photo editing." Also, the fact that the Surface Pro is an awesome digitizer, with a pen, is icing on the cake.

                I'm not saying the Surface is the be-all and end-all, but it has features that are fantastic. Most of the detractors obviously haven't used one in a professional environment...where an Android tablet or iPad just don't do what I need them to do. Including having a USB port.

                **Someone felt that I was trolling. I'm not a troll, just a person who enjoys using their Surface Pro for work and entertainment. Also, my previous job had me purchasing a LOT of equipment (1,800 users) and I spent soooo much money on iPads it was amazing. Most of those were deemed totally useless once the novelty wore off. I'm just trying to steer people toward what I feel is a very good solution to the mobile computer question.

              • I think all 3 major devices are very good and they each offer something. You telling me the USB port isn't really important makes me think you don't work a technical job where you travel on site. If you do you would find many uses for the USB port. The day to day user may not benefit as much from the USB port but I assure you on site technicians do. I've seen it used to hookup to HVAC equipment, to upgrade printer firmware or to console into a network Switch that isn't yet assigned an IP. These are all devi

    • Yes, absolutely. And did you know that football can cause brain damage and a lot of the announcers are former players?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 11, 2014 @07:52AM (#47879377)

    That's nothing, I keep posting about the iPhone 6 on Facebook and people continually refer to it as the Nexus 5! Joke's on them.

  • by robinsonne ( 952701 ) on Thursday September 11, 2014 @07:52AM (#47879387)
    To be fair, have you listened to some of what NFL announcers say these days? Most of it is pretty damn stupid, even when they're keeping their remarks to football. I consider it lucky if they can tell the difference between a run play and a pass play...telling the difference between 2 gadgets? Nope.
  • How much! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrL0G1C ( 867445 ) on Thursday September 11, 2014 @07:58AM (#47879431) Journal

    Am I the only person here who thinks MS are nuts for having paid so much for a product placement. Surely $400,000,000 could have been better spent through other advertising methods. $400m seems like at least 10x too much.

    They expected that product placement would lead to millions of extra sales of an expensive item!!!

    • Re:How much! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday September 11, 2014 @08:18AM (#47879589) Homepage
      Yeah, I'd be suspicious that Microsoft could buy $400 million worth of Surface tablets from themselves and hand them out on the street, and it would increase adoption more than this deal will.
      • Well Microsoft did write off 900 million dollars I tablets last year. Maybe they tried to get some of that back.

      • Re:How much! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Thursday September 11, 2014 @08:54AM (#47879859) Homepage

        Indeed, if they randomly distributed 2M surfaces for free throughout the population it would probably cost them about the same, and it would immediately create a demand for applications, it would get their product in front of consumers, etc. That would seem like a far better investment if you really wanted to blow this kind of cash.

        • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

          Indeed, if they randomly distributed 2M surfaces for free throughout the population it would probably cost them about the same, and it would immediately create a demand for applications, it would get their product in front of consumers, etc.

          Except "Surface tablets are the official tablets of the NFL" sounds a bit better in the press for Microsoft than "Microsoft has to give away Surface tablets to get people to use them".

    • by benjymouse ( 756774 ) on Thursday September 11, 2014 @08:33AM (#47879719)

      It is not just for "product placement", though.

      From Microsofts press release [microsoft.com] on the deal:

      The agreement provides Microsoft with the rights to create exclusive interactive experiences through products such as Xbox One and Surface, transforming the way fans will experience the NFL in the years to come. The NFL on Xbox will provide fans with an all-new viewing experience through innovations around Skype and Xbox SmartGlass; an all-new, innovative fantasy football solution allowing fans to view players and live competition side by side on a single TV screen; and a personalized NFL destination featuring information about the players, teams and games fans care about most. Xbox also retains the exclusive rights to extend these interactive experiences to tablets, enabling fans to use Xbox SmartGlass technology to enhance game day.

      So MS has also licensed the rights to use the NFL brand, clips etc. (could be 3D instant replay on the xbox, streaming over Skype?).

      And exclusive rights for tablets. Could be a driver for Surface uptake.

      And also this:

      As part of the partnership, Surface by Microsoft branding will appear on NFL sidelines in unique ways, including on the hoods of the official on-field NFL instant replay stations. As part of the relationship, Microsoft will be granted the following designations:

      The instant review stations are in view during some of the most tense situations of a game, with a lot of attention. Surely, that is worth money.

      400.000.000 is a lot of money. I have no idea if it is too expensive or not. But it does cover more than the right to equip the sidelines with tablets.

      • by GlennC ( 96879 )

        The instant review stations are in view during some of the most tense situations of a game, with a lot of attention.

        I don't know what channels you're watching the game on, but where I watch, the review station gets a couple of seconds of camera time at best. It's actually rather rare to see the booth at all.

        Most of the on-air view is the replays themselves, with the announcers giving their interpretation.

    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      I agree with you it seems like way too much. I'd want to know about the duration. Is this something like a 1 year or 10 year contract? Does it include things like free promotions from players: winning quarterback on why he did so well, "I always carry my Microsoft Surface with me in my car so I can study new plays to use against next week's team".

      I do get the idea. We know from Mac vs. PC studies ( example http://cdn.redmondpie.com/wp-c... [redmondpie.com] ) Windows users are: less liberal, older, more conventional in th

    • Re:How much! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Talderas ( 1212466 ) on Thursday September 11, 2014 @09:11AM (#47880011)

      It's not $400,000,000 to advertise the Surface. That's only a part of the deal and I'm not sure why it's called the "big part". From another article discussing the deal....

      When the regular season starts, Microsoft's Xbox Live network will offer services that include video feeds of game highlights and fantasy football data. Xbox owners will also gain access to NFL Sunday Ticket, the league's package of out-of-market game telecasts that was previously available only to DirecTV satellite service subscribers.

  • generic® (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Thursday September 11, 2014 @07:58AM (#47879435) Homepage

    Do they wipe the screens of their ipads with kleenexes and q-tips, which they keep with the band-aids and aspirin next to a refrigerator full of cokes, in the room where they make xeroxes, next to the escalator?

    • Some of your generics are American based, and I ended up having to stop my Hoovering to Google what they are.

    • No, but I did build an ipad out of legos.
    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      I wrote the same comment below but your's is wittier.

      • if he was the thread originator, and you wrote your comment below, then surely you read his comment before posting your own!
    • by tsqr ( 808554 )

      I don't know why this got modded "Troll". The mis-naming of those tablets is not necessarily a good thing for Apple. When your brand name becomes commonly used as a generic name for a class of products, it dilutes the value of the trademark; IP attorneys refer to it as "genericide". Kleenex, Q-Tips, Band-Aids and Aspirin are great examples of this. Now excuse me, I have to go google how to photoshop some pictures.

  • by Albanach ( 527650 ) on Thursday September 11, 2014 @07:59AM (#47879439) Homepage

    The last thing Apple wants is for any tablet to be identified as and referred to as an iPad. For their laptops, you get the huge light up apple logo to make sure everyone looking at you knows just what you're using.

    The last thing Apple's marketing office will want is for anyone who sees a tablet to refer to it as an iPad. I don't see the name become generic at any point soon, but it's a big fear of many companies. With Apple so reliant on branding and recognition I'd expect them to be more concerned than most.

    • by dingen ( 958134 )

      The last thing Apple wants is for any tablet to be identified as and referred to as an iPad.

      Unless people will go to the store and ask for "an iPad" even when they don't specifically mean the tablet by Apple.

      • Unless the store employee is equally oblivious and just leads them to the tablet section (perhaps to a rack of android tablets).

        • by jbolden ( 176878 )

          In practice the tablet market has completely forked.

          Android owns the $75-150 market mostly in Asia where people use tablets as a form of personal television with some internet features
          Apples owns the $350+ market where people use tables to run tablet based software.

          There is (in terms of tens of millions of units) no middle of the market.

      • That has actually already happened for a lot of people. My daughter has a Nexus 7 tablet that she uses with a keyboard case to take notes in her college classes. Many people will come up and say, "oh, I like your iPad setup". Or "Which iPad is that?". Similarly on radio shows such as Leo Laporte's "The Tech Guy" (which is generally for "normals" - the not so technical folks who need help with tech), callers will often tell Leo that they want advice on picking out an "iPad" when they clearly mean they would
    • by pla ( 258480 )
      I don't see the name become generic at any point soon

      You should re-read TFS, then. This entire topic centers on exactly that - "iPad" has become a generic term for any tablet, just as iPod has become a generic for any portable music player.

      And I have just one thought on that: "Ha, ha!"


      / As long as they don't have ultra-high-tech proprietary rounded corners. That would just go too far.
      • You should re-read TFS, then. This entire topic centers on exactly that - "iPad" has become a generic term for any tablet, just as iPod has become a generic for any portable music player.

        No, the situation is different. The reporters didn't see that someone was using a Microsoft tablet and called it by a generic name "iPad". They saw someone using a Microsoft tablet aka Surface and mistakenly believed it was an Apple tablet aka iPad. If reporters start saying "NFL is using iPads made by Microsoft" or "NFL is using an iPad Surface" assuming there is a classic iPad, iPad Retina, iPad Air, and now an iPad Surface, you may have a point.

    • I agree. What's more, Apple might have to press hard on the common use of the term "iPad" to refer to tablets in general. Bayer long ago lost the exclusive rights to the word aspirin by not enforcing its exclusivity. 3M took great pains in the 70s to make clear "Scotch" did not become another word for "transparent", as in tape; Coke, McDonal's, et al. have enforced such. Now it may be Apple's turn.
      Oh, and as for MS :"What goes around, comes around." Whatever that means....

    • The last thing Apple wants is for any tablet to be identified as and referred to as an iPad.

      Such as when a live-mic'ed coach on the sideline picks up one of the Surface tablets, mutters an expletive, and says "why is this f*cking iPad so f*ckin' heavy?"

  • iPad has reached that point that Kleenex (facial tissue) or Scotch tape (clear adhesive tape). People can say "I want an iPad but not one of those expensive Apple ones" and mean they want a tablet type device. I've never used "clear adhesive tape" in conversation even when I knew the brand wasn't Scotch. I'll still grab a box of Puff's brand Kleenex. Apple is so dominant in tablets that's the way this plays out.

    OTOH I suspect the announcers will just correct themselves on air and give Microsoft a good 2

    • iPad has reached that point that Kleenex (facial tissue) or Scotch tape (clear adhesive tape). People can say "I want an iPad but not one of those expensive Apple ones" and mean they want a tablet type device.

      I'd say this is nowhere near. The generic name is "tablet" and not "iPad". And the generic name for a music player is "MP3 player", not iPod, even when a so-called MP3 player might be used to play mostly AAC or other non-MP3 formats.

      • You must have been out sick the day the entire marketing class discussed the challenges associated with market leaders such as Kleenex and Xerox.

        Here's the cliff notes version: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G... [wikipedia.org]. Even for the neck-beardiest android geek, deep in the logic center of the brains he knows that iPad has taken on a genericized condition in the mainstream.

      • I'd say this is nowhere near. The generic name is "tablet" and not "iPad".

        Maybe to you but that's not the way the real world works. People absolutely do call all tablets "iPads" regardless of actual make. They refer to any MP3 player as an "iPod" whether it actually is or isn't. People don't search, they "Google".

        No it isn't accurate but it is what happens. If you correct them they will ignore you. Most people really, seriously DO NOT CARE that it isn't actually accurate. All adhesive bandages are Band-Aids. All nasal tissue is Kleenex. All transparent tape is Scotch tape

  • by Squidlips ( 1206004 ) on Thursday September 11, 2014 @08:23AM (#47879631)
    I saw him struggling with it...I suspect he will go back to a clipboard and paper soon and to heck with the NFL and the MS contract...
    • No such luck. The tablets have replaced the black and white printouts of player positioning and play development. Turns out those pictures were provided by the league itself to both teams - it's not something teams do on their own.

      So if Belichick doesn't want the tablets to view those photos, he won't have any photos to see.

  • by SethJohnson ( 112166 ) on Thursday September 11, 2014 @08:29AM (#47879681) Homepage Journal
    Most commenters here and elsewhere assume these references to a competing product were accidental. I believe they were likely intentional. The $400m paid to the NFL did not include any money paid to the broadcast corporations. They're sitting there wondering why they should help the NFL promote something while at the same time having to pay the NFL similarly-sized piles of cash.

    I think these carefully-executed comments were an intentional message to Microsoft that their promotional budget is better spent with them on commercials rather than trying to embed them in the content without paying the broadcasters.
  • by wcrowe ( 94389 ) on Thursday September 11, 2014 @08:33AM (#47879717)

    Someone called something that wasn't an iPad, an iPad! In other news, one announcer was overheard to say that the trainer was placing a Band-aid on an injured player, when in fact the bandage was a Curad! Shocking!

     

    • Someone called something that wasn't an iPad, an iPad! In other news, one announcer was overheard to say that the trainer was placing a Band-aid on an injured player, when in fact the bandage was a Curad! Shocking!

      You're obviously not a nerd since you don't seem to understand why it is hilariously funny that a Microsoft tablet is consistently being called an 'iPad' by its users. Even nerds who were only a glint in their father's eye during the Microsoft v. Apple wars know why this is funny. Which brings us to the next question: What are you doing here?

  • If they don't have some breach of contract or revenue clawback due to all this silliness, then Microsoft have only themselves to blame for the lack of positive marketing and publicity.
  • Wow, that sucks but it's very funny! It would have been funny had the tables been turned as well. If it had been Apple paying the NFL and the NFL commentators calling the devices a Surface, it would be just as funny if not more so.
  • by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Thursday September 11, 2014 @08:43AM (#47879781)
    I'd be wanting to work at 110% of my ability 24/7, if I was forced to learn/use a device foreign to me I'd be pissed. I don't care if it's a surface, iPad, or chalkboard, let me work in a way that's most productive for me.
  • You see in the pics in the article how the headphones say BOSE in letters you could read literally from across a football field? Where does it say "Surface" on the tablet? That little foam handle? Slap "Surface" on every side of those protective frames. This is the NFL! They don't do subtle.

    Even better, go algorithmic. Whenever a Surface tablet appears on the screen, slap a "Surface, The Official Tablet of the NFL" graphic in the corner.

    And what, no one thinks to stick an "It's not an iPad, it's a Surfac
    • by tibit ( 1762298 )

      I think the biggest issue is that Microsoft doesn't really have a simple symbolic logo for itself as a corporation. There's a perhaps widely-recognized Windows logo, and that's about it. The people at the marketing helm at MS are really asleep, and have been for ages. They can't even keep from fucking with their Windows logo. Say what you will about Apple, but they essentially had only two logo designs, and both are instantly recognizable. They had the foresight to design them for the long run. MS seems to

  • by sabbede ( 2678435 ) on Thursday September 11, 2014 @08:48AM (#47879813)
    I will let you equip my organization with Surfaces for only $20. Our brand has developed a strong customer following and the products we use have a great influence on the purchasing decisions of our clients.

    Granted, my organization may look like a household, but that's just a clever marketing tactic.

    We will need three tablets at first to equip our executive staff (myself and my girlfriend) and our lead associate (her daughter), though our affiliates (extended family) may require them in the future.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Thursday September 11, 2014 @08:50AM (#47879821)

    For this upcoming Super Bowl, the big halftime event is going to be a heavily choreographed number with all of the participating players dancing around, clicking their Surface keyboards onto and off of the devices.

  • by Bill_the_Engineer ( 772575 ) on Thursday September 11, 2014 @08:59AM (#47879903)
    All the phone manufacturers with the exception of Apple spent millions on Super Bowl Ads and at the end of the game all the players took out their iPhone and took pictures of each other with the trophy.

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