Microsoft Has a Bill Belichick Problem

Posted on October 19, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 84 Comments

Microsoft Has a Bill Belichick Problem

Credit: Getty Images

New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick has spent his career destroying the hopes and dreams of the competition. But now he’s turned his ire on Microsoft’s Surface tablets. And the results are not pretty.

As you may know, Microsoft entered into a $400 million deal with the NFL back in mid-2013, beating out Apple and other tablet makers. The goal was simple: To bring the NFL into the 21st century and provide coaches and players with the most up-to-date information possible, in real time, on the field field during games.

In typical Microsoft fashion, the deal has always been a mixed bag. The NFL started using Surface Pro 2 tablets during the month in which Microsoft launched a much improved Surface Pro 3, and on-air commentators, players and coaches continued to refer to the devices as iPads for years, giving Apple free publicity.

This week, Mr. Belichick went on an extended rant about his bad experiences with Surface, and declared that he would no longer use the devices. (As is the case with a number of other NFL coaches, by the way.) I’ll get to that in a bit. Because many in the tech industry probably don’t realize that this event isn’t unique, or new. Bill Belichick has been complaining about the Surface for a long time.

The most heated issue—at least, before this week’s divorce—happened in January, when the Patriots lost the AFC Championship by two points to a Denver Broncos team that went on to win the Super Bowl, a contest many Patriots fans believe is theirs by birthright. But in this case, they may have a point: The morning after the loss, Belichick complained about the many ways and times in which the Surface tablets the Patriots were using kept failing, most notably during a Broncos touchdown drive.

The malfunctions were so bad that the NFL required the Patriots to shut down all of their Surfaces during that drive, while the suddenly surging Broncos were not required to do so. So they were blind, so to speak, while technicians tried to solve the problem.

Belichick didn’t actually blame the Surface tablets for the loss—he’s not a sore loser like so many of the Patriots’ adversaries—but he repeatedly noted that these kinds of issues were “common”. Microsoft complained, the NFL backed its big-paying partner, and history happened.

But I think it’s interesting to re-read Microsoft’s statement from January in the light of this week’s news. It says:

The NFL is one of the biggest entertainment properties in the world, and this unique partnership has helped to showcase the impact our technology can have for players, teams and coaches with Surface on the sideline as well as for millions of fans with Xbox and Windows 10 at home. Our products are making teams on the field more efficient and competitive and making the experience for fans more dynamic. Coaches, players and fans have echoed that sentiment, and for that reason we think this investment has been worthwhile.

Leaving aside the marketing baloney—does anyone really believe that Microsoft “invested” $400 million to make NFL games better for coaches, players or fans?—we’re left with this:

Our products are making teams on the field more efficient and competitive and making the experience for fans more dynamic.

And that is precisely what Mr. Belichick says is not happening.

“I’m done with the tablets,” Belichick said this week, and about 10 days after he had an infamous on-field hissy fit in which he tried to destroy one of the failing devices. “They’re just too undependable.”

“I just can’t take it anymore,” he noted, adding that he would “stick with [paper] pictures,” which “several other [NFL] coaches do as well,” presumably for the same reason.

Bill Belichick is 64 years old, and while many will believe that age and perhaps technology phobia plays into his worldview, don’t be fooled. Say what you will about the man, but he is among the winnigest of NFL coaches in history and his team has been the most feared adversary in the league for the past decade and a half. If Surface gave him or the Patriots any advantage at all, he’d take it.

To be fair, the Surface failures often involve communications equipment, which Belichick has explained is complex, with numerous on-field systems often interfering with each other. There are days when the game starts and the equipment is still not working, he says, despite hours of testing.

But then, this too factors into Microsoft’s decision making process. The firm was so hot to get the crucial NFL deal that it never considered the bad press it would get. When everyone called its tablets iPads. And when things didn’t work. Apple didn’t just save $400 million by not getting the NFL deal, it saved an untold amount by not taking a weekly hit to its reputation.

Getting back to Mr. Belichick, the other thing he says that really resonates with me is that the complexity and unreliability of using a Surface outweighs its benefits. And this is something that so many of us, especially those consider themselves technology enthusiasts, often ignore. We think this complexity and unreliability is just part of the deal.

“It’s basically a problem every week,” he said. “For me, it’s a personal decision. I’m done with the tablets. I’ll use the paper pictures from here on, because I have given it my best shot. I’ve tried to work through the process. But it just doesn’t work for me, and that’s because there’s no consistency to it.”

If that doesn’t sound familiar to the Surface Book or Surface Pro 4 users who just had the crappiest year of their technology-using lives because of the endemic issues with those devices, I don’t know what to say.

So, yes, Surface may be “trusted by the pros,” as Microsoft’s Surface NFL web site claims. It’s just not trusted by the most winningest of those pros. And, sorry, Microsoft. But that’s a problem of your own making. As it is so often.

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55 Comments
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  1. 7 | Reply
    bassoprofundo Alpha Member #408 - 1 month ago

    "We think this complexity and unreliability is just part of the deal."

    ^^^THIS^^^  Be honest, fellow Surface fans...  If you're anything like me, you're love the products so much that you're willing to endure far more than the average man on the street when it comes to your Surface.  Furthermore, if you're a longtime PC/Windows user and enthusiast, you're mostly unphased by whatever the hot issue of the day (ex.- fillintheblankGate) and have come to expect this as a natural part of personal computing.  In fairness, it's not always simply from shell-shock.  On the contrary, I suspect for most of us that it's a greater understanding of the complexities involved in developing and supporting something on the magnitude of Windows and the myriad of software and hardware configs out there. You're also more than likely pretty adept at troubleshooting any minor glitches, and I suspect that you (like me), are "the computer guy" for your friends and family.

    HOWEVER, if I put aside my inner fanboi (covering up my Zune tattoo), I'm forced to admit a couple of things.

    1) The issues with Surface are real. Beginning with the OG Surface Pro, between my wife and I, we're now on our collective 7th Surface Pro. I'm extremely careful with my stuff, and we've had 2 battery failures, 2 screen failures, a dead SSD, and a myriad of other "glitches" beyond what we should be experiencing from Microsoft's flagship hardware/software pairing. This isn't even counting the SP4 and the Surface Book I sent back (I can still smell the hot nylon of my backpack). Maybe I've just had bad luck, but Google (no wait, Bing) tells me otherwise. There are real problems keeping real people from getting real work done on devices for which they paid REAL premiums.  While it's hardly an exclusively Microsoft problem, it's real and is unacceptable for premium devices.

    2) People are moving on. It was one thing when a Windows PC was your only option. Today, the simpler options have matured to the point that most can simply get back with their smartphone and maybe a tablet or Chromebook. Heck, even I COULD get by with a phone and a Chromebook for my personal life if forced to do so. Life is complex enough, and the "magical" iPhone has convinced people that our tech doesn't have to be. The older I get, the less I want to mess with things that don't interest me. Crazy as it sounds, a lot of people are that way with tech. :)

    Far be it from me to defend a Patriot :), but like most normal people, it makes no difference to him which issue is keeping him from working today. What matters is that the tools provided are unreliable to the point that it is easier to switch to something that he knows will work, technological superiority be damned.  Frankly, I'm starting to see his point...

    1. 0 | Reply
      jwpear Alpha Member #2194 - 1 month ago
    2. 0 | Reply
      geschinger Alpha Member #462 - 1 month ago
      In reply to bassoprofundo:

      The only thing I'd point out is that it's more than that, it's that the technology isn't adding enough value being a digitial approximation of a process that can be handled on paper.  

      The ineptitude of the NFL goes well beyond network connectivity to the Surfaces.  Communication between the coaches headsets, the press box, helmets, etc... has countless technical glitches / problems as well.  However there is not equivalent to a photo on a piece of paper to match the functionality there so he accepts it and there are no diatribes against Bose headsets for example.  

      The NFL was testing video on the Surface devices during the preseason.  If they start allowing video on the Surfaces I suspect you'd see BB start to use them again and there wouldn't be any more rants (much like we don't hear him ranting about throwing away the sideline to helmet communication) because the technology despite all it's faults is a value add compared to the alternative.  

  2. 3 | Reply
    fuzzsdad Alpha Member #540 - 1 month ago

    Personally, I'm DONE with the NFL and the whining millionaires. So I give a nat what they use.

  3. 2 | Reply
    jbuccola Alpha Member #1511 - 1 month ago

    Taking stock of this past year in Microsoft tech in our 4 person home...

    • Down one Surface device (from three to two)
    • Down four Windows Phones (from four to zero)
    • Down two Bands (from two to zero)

     

    Haven't upgraded the XBox 360 yet because I have lost faith in Microsoft's commitment to its products.

    On the work front, we've ramped up on MS's cloud products, only to find the reliability is worse than the on-premise equivalents.

    The "promise" of a superior overall experience with broad integration that Microsoft purports to deliver is unsubstantiated. In fact, I'm finding that consumer tech is best consumed as best of breed solutions, which tend to integrate nicely with one another as table stakes (Spotify with Echo, for example).

    On the contrary, being "all in" Microsoft bears way too much risk of abandonment, lack of feature parity, lack of apps/broad support, etc.

    So net net, I'm with Bill.

  4. 1 | Reply
    geschinger Alpha Member #462 - 1 month ago

    The NFL is a technologically inept organization.  They have constant connectivity problems with things like communications between the press box, helmets, coaches headsets etc., things that have been in use for decades longer than Surface tablets.

    MLB, a much more technologically advanced operation is now allowing iPads in dugouts but only offline mode. 

    Microsoft should either take complete ownership of the networking / connectivity of those systems necessary for the sideline tablets or walk away from the deal completely.  Tying their fate to an incompetent (from a technological perspective) organization is madness. 

  5. 1 | Reply
    Narg Alpha Member #420 - 1 month ago

    Seems he just has a problem with technology in general.  No matter what tablet, he would have ranted about how bad it was.

    1. 3 | Reply
      wbhite Alpha Member #120 - 1 month ago

      My first thought was "well, he's from a different generation and is probably a Luddite to some extent."  But then, as Paul said, I have to think back to my own experiences with the SP3/SP4 here at work.  Often (especially when I really need it, like when I'm walking around trying to take notes or present in a meeting), I press the power button and the damn thing either doesn't immediately come on or it just sits at the "Welcome" screen for an annoying amount of time (and don't even try to restart it thinking that will solve it; you'll stare at the "Restarting" screen for 10 minutes).  So, I sympathize with the NFL coaches, if their experiences are anything like mine.

    2. Paul Thurrott
      5 | Reply
      Paul Thurrott Alpha Member #1 - 1 month ago
      In reply to wbhite:

      Right. I am amazed, sometimes, at what we put up with, usually without complaint. It's like we accept lack of reliability as a fact of life.

    3. 0 | Reply
      Ekim Alpha Member #649 - 1 month ago
      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      Stockholm syndrome?

    4. 2 | Reply
      Narg Alpha Member #420 - 1 month ago
      In reply to wbhite:

      I have similar issues with both Android tablets and even iPads do odd things like this from time to time.  So again, it's not Surface that needs to be singled out here.  But rather technology in general.  As Paul as stated in the past it's time for Microsoft to work on quality, I believe it's time for ALL to work more on quality.  Hardware has improved in general, as shown in Paul's recent PC sales post here, but software definately needs to do some real work toward improving the experience and results of what technology should REALLY be capabile of doing.

    5. 1 | Reply
      Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 1 month ago
      In reply to Narg:

      I haven't experienced that with any Chrome OS devices since I started testing and using them in the last year.  Maybe it's the lack of complexity, but I see that as a benefit when it means the platform is more stable.  The term I can best use to describe it is "refreshing".  It's a relief from the usual management and maintenance that Windows requires.  This is why I want to see Microsoft go "all-in" with the cloud.  If Microsoft actually stepped up their HTML web app support and built it as a true platform, it would mean Windows wouldn't be needed.  Let's be clear here: nobody NEEDS Windows.  Desktop applications need Win32, but if everything is run on far more stable, cross-platform modular API containers that enable rich HTML5 clients, Windows is dead because it becomes unnecessary.  It would fall under a class of other operating systems that could run as thin clients.  And that's why Microsoft will never go this route.  The problem is that Microsoft would lose control over the PC industry without OEM royalty agreements, so keeping Windows around is just a protection measure.  Practically every PC shipped makes Microsoft a vig, after all.

    6. 0 | Reply
      hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 1 month ago

      In reply to Narg:

      Sorry. MSFT paid US$400 million so that it would be Surfaces singled out for derision whenever anything went wrong or whenever any coach didn't get exactly what he wanted from them. MSFT assumed it'd all be wine & roses & touchdowns, not figuring on fumbles, interceptions and safeties.

      MSFT paid big bucks to have sole possibility of bad press. MSFT deserves it, and it might be valuable if MSFT learns from it.

    7. 1 | Reply
      jwpear Alpha Member #2194 - 1 month ago
      In reply to wbhite:

      Can't tell you how many times I've had your exact experience with my personal SP3 and work-provided SP4.  I've cursed at the devices on multiple occasions.  It is truly a love/hate relationship.  Windows/Wintel is just too complex to provide the kind of reliability that is needed for tablets.  The complexity that the hard-nosed devs claim is required is exactly its Achilles heel.  If Microsoft and Intel can't work together to build a reliable device, how the heck can any of the OEM's?

      As a Windows/Microsoft fan with two decades as a developer, it pains me to read this.  But it is just simply the truth.

    8. 0 | Reply
      jglathe Alpha Member #620 - 1 month ago
      In reply to Narg:

      More like with technology that doesn't live up to the task. That is a reasonable no-nonsense attitude. Every technology company should listen to this. Deliver what the users require, and they'll use it. This also means to keep the ego and all-too obvious lock-in strategies at bay. Review of the workflow, defensive coding and design (with margins for errors on all sides), proper testing, *never* try one size fits all (it doesnt), listen to complaints. Sounds simple, but it's an attitude thing.

    9. 0 | Reply
      jennyc Alpha Member #2071 - 1 month ago
      In reply to Narg: Exactly. Sounds to me more like Belichick is a luddite. He'd say the same thing if it were the fruty pads.

       

  6. 1 | Reply
    mebby Alpha Member #219 - 1 month ago

    "...he’s not a sore loser like so many of the Patriots’ adversaries..." Yeah, I doubt that. Pats fans - whiners the lot of them - are just annoyed when other teams have an unfair advantage.

    Paul, you are walking a fine line. Veer into discussions on religon or politics - fine with me. But you need to clearly identify your football related bias.

    Mike ... from Denver.

     

     

     

    1. 1 | Reply
      glenn8878 Alpha Member #2387 - 1 month ago
      In reply to mebby:

      Paul lives in Boston. Infer from that.

  7. 1 | Reply
    bdollerup Alpha Member #1698 - 1 month ago

    In typical Thurrott fashion, you refer to "Microsoft fashion". ;-) The fact that sports reporters and others can't tell the difference between an iPad and other tablets is hardly suprising. Likely, we still have folks out there that refers to HP and Dell PC's as Windows or Microsoft PC's. 

    As a commentor/blogger, it would behove you to to look into what the issues with the Surfaces actually were and include that in your commentary. To the best of my knowledge, not all the issues Bill Belichick  and other ran into, were caused by the Surfaces and would likely surface (pun intended) on both iPads and Android tablets.

     

    1. Paul Thurrott
      3 | Reply
      Paul Thurrott Alpha Member #1 - 1 month ago
      In reply to bdollerup:

      Seriously, I'm sorry that every post can't include a rewriting of everything that came before. But I feel like I've documented the issues with the current generation of Surface devices, and Microsoft's utter silence about these issues, ad naseum.

       

    2. 0 | Reply
      Dan Alpha Member #291 - 1 month ago
      In reply to bdollerup:

      Even though you work for Microsoft, Paul doesn't. And it isn't his responsibility to defend the company's hardware, no matter how awful it is.

    3. 0 | Reply
      bdollerup Alpha Member #1698 - 1 month ago
      In reply to Dan: I don't work for Microsoft. And my point was simply that this story would be a better if all the facts were there. Just like the coach legitimate claims about out unreliability would be

       

    4. 0 | Reply
      Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 1 month ago
      In reply to bdollerup:

      I don't know how you missed that part in the article.  It's there.  He complained about the lack of reliability.  Paul covered that.  What did you not read?

  8. 0 | Reply
    ponsaelius Alpha Member #1328 - 1 month ago

    NFL - that's a kind of rugby Americans play. I guess it would be more significant globally if it was football. I understand Nadella is a cricket fan.

    But Microsoft technology not serving sports very well in the UK is common. Apart from the Premier League in England Cortana is ignorant of other games in the UK.Cortana is well informed about Scottish football, rugby or the Six Nations championship.

    I guess Surface being the NFL brand in the US is a thing. If only the commentators knew it wasn't an ipad it might have some value to MS.

    1. 0 | Reply
      maethorechannen Alpha Member #377 - 1 month ago
      In reply to ponsaelius:

      UK Cortana isn't even any good at US sports scores, even sports like Canadian Rugby and Basketball that are played (by American teams) over here. Seriously, I'm off to see the Giants play the Rams at Twickenham on Sunday, but will UK Cortana on Windows 10 ever give me the latest Patriots score? No. Yet Google Now and Amazon Alexa will give me whatever sports scores I want.

  9. 0 | Reply
    rh24 Alpha Member #1125 - 1 month ago

    I'm surprised that if the NFL can dictate which brand of shoes the players can wear (completely rediculous), that they can't dictate that Belichick be forced to use a Surface.  Although, I guess the players could also play without shoes.  

    1. 0 | Reply
      hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 1 month ago

      In reply to rh24:

      The rules require player wear shoes.

      I doubt the NFL or MSFT want to try to force Belichick (or any other winning/popular coach) to use Surfaces. That itself would become news, and it'd be bad publicity for MSFT. And, yes, doing the exact same thing with cleets and tablets would be neutral to positive for the shoe maker but bad for MSFT. All players wearing the same cleets could be viewed as leveling the playing field. OTOH, coaches are supposed to exploit their greater cleverness over the coaches for the other side, so MSFT probably doesn't want Surfaces to become known as the tool which can dumb all coaches down to the same level.

  10. 0 | Reply
    hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 1 month ago

    Did MSFT take on soup-to-nuts management of all network infrastructure the Surfaces would use during games, or does MSFT only provide Surfaces and let others handle the infrastructure? If the latter, MSFT has no one but itself to blame for putting its reputation in others' hands. If the former, MSFT is reponsible for these snafus. No matter where the problems lie, MSFT seems to have been overeager to beat out Apple and failed to do sufficient due dilligence.

    From a different perspective, if tablets were so productive in football, why aren't they more evident in top college football games?

  11. 0 | Reply
    mike2k Alpha Member #1349 - 1 month ago

    I'd never trust an MS tablet if it needed to work consistently for 3-5 hours. 

  12. 0 | Reply
    bbold Alpha Member #669 - 1 month ago

    It's totally his age. Ornery old people and tablets just don't mix.

  13. 0 | Reply
    NoLaNM5150 Alpha Member #483 - 1 month ago

    If you do not want problems and headaches, avoid the following:

    1. Most, if not all technology.

    2. Anything to do with cars and most homes.

    3. Relationships; Opposite or same sex.

    99.7% of most of your problems are now solved.

    You're welcome!

  14. 0 | Reply
    Douglas Jenks Alpha Member #182 - 1 month ago

    Nine out of ten NFL fans see coaches and players holding clearly-marked Surface tablets on the sidelines.  They probably do no know about the Belichick comments.  They no longer think these bright blue things are ipads.  The $400m "investment" was probably (maybe) a good marketing move. 

  15. 0 | Reply
    ErichK Alpha Member #2471 - 1 month ago

    Ha.  Just now saw the footage on my local news as the sports guy was showing it.

    It must just be the complexity of integrating the Surface with all the other stuff going on in the stadium.  My Surface RT was reliable -- the only thing that eventually got to me after a while was its lack of performance.

    Maybe the coach should delete his pr0n...   :-)

  16. 0 | Reply
    lwetzel Alpha Member #113 - 1 month ago

    "If Surface gave him or the Patriots any advantage at all, he’d take it."  Nuf said about Belichick.

  17. 0 | Reply
    stolar - 1 month ago

    I suspect many of these issues are network related.  I also suspect that - in this scenario - a simple, tablet-first device would do better than a general purpose laptop that has some tablet features.    

    1. 0 | Reply
      mebby Alpha Member #219 - 1 month ago
      In reply to stolar:

      Right, I thought that network/WIFI issues were the primary issue in the AFC title game. Of course, WIFI has been a problem that plagued my SP4 after the released (since fixed of course).

  18. 0 | Reply
    littlejohnjt Alpha Member #417 - 1 month ago

    Although I really like my Surface Pro 3, I kind of share in his frustration.  As Paul has mentioned several times here and in the podcasts, if I close my Surface Pro 3 and come back to it at a later time, the instant on functionality almost never works, it simply reboots.  Although I have learned to deal with it, it is frustrating.

    I still love the device though, it is the only machine I use for development and business activities, albeit I have it connected to two big (22") displays.

  19. 0 | Reply
    kenosando Alpha Member #1382 - 1 month ago

    There is something to be said about paper v. digital in many regards. I was acutally listening to Sirius NFL Radio yesterday talk about the process of capturing pictures before plays, during plays, and after plays, then sending them to a printer. Unless it is a stormy day with 25 MPH+ winds, paper really does make more sense for the situation - you need a medium that is reliable. Sure, a printer can get the awful case of jams or toner issues, but we've had decades to try to make a printer that works well (if you spend the money on it). Tablets, touch-screen enabled mobile computers, are too young and prone to issues, even the isolated and specialized versions of the Surface tablets used by the NFL - we've really only had them available to the masses for the last 10-12 years. As a computer enthusiast and professional, I want to see more digital and less paper, but paper is nearly fool proof, cheaper, and everyone, young and old, knows how to use it. MS may need to buy a paper mill and a printer manufacturer if all sidelines start sharing the sentiment of the Belichick to do their advertising. 

  20. 0 | Reply
    anchovylover Alpha Member #875 - 1 month ago

    MS do indeed have a problem here. While the Surface are fine devices perception is everything. This story is all over the media and more importantly non tech sites. Many people are hearing about Surface for the first time and correct or not this will remain in their heads.

  21. 0 | Reply
    WP7Mango Alpha Member #2513 - 1 month ago

    Communications problems aside, this is where Satya Nadella needs to step up and start focusing better on his goal of "empowering the individual". Fighting with technology is not empowering the individual - it's debilitating!!!

    Don't get me wrong - I love the Surface Pro. For people like me, it's great. I very rarely have any problems with it, but when I do, it's annoying. I can see how certain things might be unnecessarily complex for some kinds of users. The answer to that might mean running the Surface Pro in "Kiosk" mode for the sole pupose of running a single dedicated app exclusively. If that's the case, perhaps a Surface Pro or iPad is overkill. Perhaps what's needed is a bespoke tablet (IoT) running one app, and running it well.

    Ironically, my iPad is currently far more annoying than my Surface Pro 3.

    1. 0 | Reply
      Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 1 month ago
      In reply to WP7Mango:

      Windows Embedded.

      There is no "componentized" version of Windows 10 like there was with Windows 7 and Windows 8.  It's just a stripped-down IoT version that doesn't allow for Win32 applications to run as embedded apps.  Microsoft killed that.  If you want to use embedded apps on a Windows 10 core, they have to be UWP apps.

      But Microsoft doesn't want developers to know that they still support Windows 8 Embedded, and they certainly won't backdate support of UWP on that platform, and new chipsets won't run on old platforms, so your option is to move to their IoT platform which is designed for a completely different target.

    2. 0 | Reply
      WP7Mango Alpha Member #2513 - 1 month ago
      In reply to Waethorn:

      Nothing wrong with such apps being UWP.

  22. 0 | Reply
    Abazigal Alpha Member #2152 - 1 month ago

    Can it not be argued that the problem might have stemmed from management trying to force a certain type of technology on a person who never wanted it to begin with. 

    If he had been allowed to select his own tech, and opted for say, an iPad, would he have been more forgiving of its flaws? Might he actually have invested more time and effort into making it work?

    Yes, it's hard to say no to $400 million, but realise that the people saying yes to that money aren't the same people having to use those surface pros, much less having to use them to get a job done. I don't think the coach actually got to see a single cent of that $400 million in exchange for using the surface pro. 

    I am reminded of what Steve Jobs said during one of his older D8 interviews. How one bugbear he had was that people don't get to choose their own tech in the corporate world, and how the tech that people ended up using tend to be selected by people who end up not using them. Hence the apparent disparity between what you want and what you end up getting. 

    And people wonder why he's more than a little dissatisfied at having to use a piece of tech whose adoption he clearly had little say in?

    1. 0 | Reply
      Siv Alpha Member #451 - 1 month ago
      In reply to Abazigal:

      I think you would find that he'd have smashed an iPad much quicker than a Surface. At least a Surface is a real PC.

    2. 0 | Reply
      Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 1 month ago
      In reply to Abazigal:

      It wasn't a technology deal - it was marketing deal.

  23. 0 | Reply
    xapache Alpha Member #1506 - 1 month ago

    In the articles I've read, none of them state what exactly is the problem the coaches/players are experiencing.  You would think that a company like Microsoft would in fact fix a consistent problem.

    I've looked around and couldn't find anything that states what the problems are exactly or what the process of getting the photos/videos that Belichick complains is too complex.  Anyone have anything that shows the process?  I would love to see what they see on these devices.

    For me, it isn't about is this a Surface/MS problem rather a technology problem - does it make sense to have a tablet on the sidelines at all? 

    1. 0 | Reply
      maethorechannen Alpha Member #377 - 1 month ago
      In reply to xapache:

      The best behind the scenes video I've seen is this one from CNET

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPHRniCwEhM

      But it doesn't go into any great depth.

  24. 0 | Reply
    glenn8878 Alpha Member #2387 - 1 month ago

    If Belichick solely needs pictures, why can't it just be configured to instantly put pictures on his Surface? Nothing else matters. You can put a ton of pictures on a Surface. I suspect rules means a coach just can't use it according to his desire. I read that no team gets to use the Surface in advance due to fear of cheating. This means on game day, they are flying blind.

  25. 0 | Reply
    dcdevito Alpha Member #220 - 1 month ago

    The guy struggled with microphones many times, so I don't take his opinion on technology very seriously 

  26. 0 | Reply
    chriswong13 Alpha Member #869 - 1 month ago

    Unfortunately, Bill is blaming the Surface, but I'm sure it's more of an ongoing connectivity problem, just as it was with the last publicized problem.  WiFi and data suck in any stadium with 60,000 people, and a lot of them posting photos and videos, etc.

    1. 0 | Reply
      hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 1 month ago

      In reply to chriswong13:

      Wouldn't it have been good for MSFT to have considered WiFi flakiness when entering into the deal with the NFL?

      Maybe the Surfaces aren't to blame, but MSFT definitely deserves the bad publicity its getting for this deal.

  27. 0 | Reply
    daveevad Alpha Member #1614 - 1 month ago

    Add one more reason for me to dispise Belichick and the Patriots! (Read "Envy").  Go Bills!

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      mebby Alpha Member #219 - 1 month ago
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    dougkinzinger Alpha Member #1212 - 1 month ago

    Wonder what Windows 8-style apps the NFL is running on them. Odds are they haven't been updated since the Win 8.1 era. Which in turn makes me wonder why MS didn't bake in all the core content of the apps on the device itself so it's less dependant on shoddy stadium WiFi.

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    lvthunder Alpha Member #2039 - 1 month ago

    Is the problem the tablets themselves, the software running on them or the communication in between them?  Also is Microsoft responible for all of it or are they just responible for the Surface hardware?  It really wouldn't be fair to blame them if it was something they don't control.