Microsoft has fired back at reports the Surface Pro 3 tablets, used by NFL teams as digital playbooks, had malfunctioned during the AFC Championship game on Sunday.
During the NFL clash between the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos this weekend, the Patriots sideline lost connectivity to their devices, impacting usage for 20 minutes during the game.
While television commentators and reporters blamed the outage on the tablet, Microsoft was quick to point out the in-stadium network was at fault.
Now Redmond has issued a blog post entitled “Surfacing the Facts” in which it seeks to set the record straight.
"Microsoft Surfaces have not experienced a single failure in the two years they’ve been used on NFL sidelines. In the past two years, Surfaces have supported nearly 100,000 minutes of sideline action, and in that time, not a single issue has been reported that is related to the tablet itself,” wrote Yusef Mehdi, Microsoft’s corporate VP of Windows and Devices.
“On rare occasions like we saw on Sunday, the stadium has network issues that prevent the delivery of images to the Surface devices. In these cases, we work with the NFL to quickly troubleshoot possible network issues so we can get the photo imaging solution to proceed as normal.”
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Mehdi goes on to say NFL teams are continuing to get more and more use out of the Surface Pro 3 tablets, which are provided as part of an ongoing agreement with the NFL.
He also claims “teams are more effective as a result of Surface tablets,” citing dozens of testimonials from NFL coaches and players.
He added: “Coaches and players who once relied on static, black-and-white photos of NFL plays to analyze coverage, can now use our Surface tablets to view more dynamic, full-color images, up to seven times faster than the printed page. As a result, those teams are more informed, more productive and ultimately, more competitive.”
Sunday’s network failure added a little controversy to the game in Denver, which the Broncos won narrowly to advance to Super Bowl 50 on February 7.
Patriots fans took to social media en masse to push conspiracy theories, which was not without a tinge of irony, given the tendency for opponents' radios and headsets to malfunction at the team’s Gillette Stadium.