THEY say there’s no such thing as bad press.
Well, try telling that to Microsoft right about now.
If anyone at the company was watching the American Football Conference Championship game between the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos, they certainly wouldn’t have liked what they saw.
The Patriots were using Microsoft’s Surface tablets on the sideline to look at real-time photos of previous plays and study the Broncos’ tactics in the crucial clash, which dictated who would play in February’s Super Bowl. All of a sudden, everything went pear shaped.
The Pats’ Surface tablets stopped working after a technology malfunction in the second quarter of the game.
CBS reporter Evan Washburn reported the difficulties to the millions of people tuned in to the telecast.
“On the Patriots’ sideline here, they’re having some trouble with their Microsoft Surface tablets,” Washburn said.
“That last defensive possession, the Patriots’ coaches did not have access to those tablets to show the pictures to the players. The NFL officials have been working at it. Some of those tablets are back in use, but not all of them. A lot of frustration that they didn’t have them that last possession.”
To make matters worse, the Broncos scored on that “last possession”.
While Tom Brady’s Patriots were in a huff over the technological debacle, the Broncos’ tablets were reportedly functioning perfectly.
Given this, Microsoft representatives told CBS the problems were related to the internet connection, rather than there being an issue with the actual hardware.
Microsoft released a statement assuring people the problem did not lie with their product.
“Our team on the field has confirmed the issue was not related to the tablets themselves but rather an issue with the network. We worked with our partners who manage the network to ensure the issue was resolved quickly,” the statement read.
The Patriots’ problems were reportedly resolved after about 20 minutes after they tried to use “hard wires” to restore connectivity.
Unfortunately, even if the problem wasn’t to do with the Microsoft products themselves, the sight of players unable to use their tablets — and that issue being pointed out on national TV — isn’t good news for the software company’s reputation.
That’s especially poignant when you consider nearly 50 million viewers tuned in to last year’s AFC Championship game.
Microsoft signed a $US400 million, five-year deal with the NFL back in 2013 to put tablets in the hands of every team. However, what seemed like a genius marketing ploy hasn’t always run so smoothly, with players and TV commentators repeatedly referring to them as “iPads”.
This season, teams have been using the Surface Pro 3 tablet, while earlier this month, Microsoft launched its new Surface Pro 4 laptop/tablet.
The Broncos beat the Patriots 20-18 and will face either the Arizona Cardinals or the Carolina Panthers in next month’s Super Bowl.