Microsoft defends performance of Surface in NFL sideline glitch

January 29, 2016 by Matt Day, The Seattle Times

Microsoft is sticking up for its Surface tablets, two days after the New England Patriots were briefly unable to use the devices during the National Football League's AFC championship game.

The modified Surface players and coaches use to review photos of action failed on the Patriots sideline, commentators reported during Sunday's game, which the Patriots lost to the Denver Broncos. The NFL subsequently said it was network issues, not a Surface-related hardware or software failure, that kept the Patriots from using the devices.

But the publicity surrounding the glitch apparently compelled Microsoft to further defend the performance of its expensive investment - a reported $400 million over five years - to put its tablets on NFL sidelines and coaches' booths.

Yusuf Mehdi, the corporate vice president who leads marketing for Microsoft's Windows and Devices group, posted a blog on Tuesday titled "Surfacing the Facts." The tablets, Mehdi says, "have not experienced a single failure in the two years they've been used on NFL sidelines."

He also touted increased use of the tablets by NFL teams this season, the second in which they've been available for players and coaches.

In the NFL deal, Microsoft has placed the brand of its tablet line in front of viewers of America's most popular sport. It's also an opportunity for the Seattle-area company to highlight to potential business customers the way the company can customize its technology for different uses.

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