Dawn Chmielewski:

Bose secured a league sponsorship deal that effectively allows it to elbow Beats — and any other rival headphone manufacturer — off the playing field.

Under terms of its agreement with the league, the NFL confirmed, Bose received a broad set of rights that entitle it to prevent players (or coaches) from wearing any other manufacturer’s headphones during televised interviews.

There should be a term for this nonsense. An “on-the-clock-block”? Just thinking out loud here.

This is a classic example of a company paying up so they can appear to be “winning” (or maybe more apt: “not losing”) rather than actually innovating and winning legitimate market share. See also: the NFL’s deal with Microsoft to use Surface tablets to block the actual and natural use of iPads.

Benny Evangelista:

Each team will have 13 Surfaces on the sidelines and 12 in the coaches box. The league owns and operates the tablets, which run on a secure wireless network. The devices will be locked in a temperature-controlled cart between games to prevent any team from manipulating the information.

I can’t believe Microsoft would let the NFL release the total Surface sales data for the quarter already.


The league’s competition committee placed restrictions on the Surface tablets: They can display only still images, not video, and they won’t have Internet access.

There’s an Internet Explorer joke in here somewhere as well.

Ben Thompson makes the case as to why new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella should kill off the Surface product line:

This here is the greatest danger of forgetting your original goal; you start making up new ones, that are basically “because we need it to exist.” The hardware capability that Nadella claims Surface leverages only exists because of the decision to make Surface. Nadella is basically saying Microsoft needs to make Surface because Microsoft makes Surface. With that sort of reasoning, you can continue on a wrong path forever, just like the Xbox.

I was thinking this very thing last night after hearing Nadella speak at the Code Conference. He often seems to be making the case for many of Microsoft’s products because they already exist, not because they should exist. As he did with the Surface Mini, I expect him to trim.

Shira Ovide:

Microsoft had a tough first foray into homegrown computing devices with the introduction of the Surface in October 2012. Microsoft has recorded about $2.64 billion in Surface sales so far. Apple, by comparison, sold $7.6 billion in iPads in the past quarter alone. Nomura Securities estimated that Microsoft has accumulated roughly $2 billion in operating losses on the Surface.

While the two devices may be in the same category, they are not in the same league. 

Dina Bass and Ian King on why we didn’t see a “Surface Mini” at Microsoft “small" Surface event this week:

Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella and Executive Vice President Stephen Elop decided that the product in development wasn’t different enough from rivals and probably wouldn’t be a hit, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans weren’t public. Engineers had been working on the device and had planned to unveil it as early as today at an event in New York, two of the people said.

This is important. It finally seems as if Microsoft has someone in place to say the all-important word: “no.”

Don’t underestimate the importance of this. I’m still not sold on the Surface Pro 3 being the right call either, but at least it makes sense to try to market that as a full-on laptop replacement. The “Surface Mini” would have been another embarrassing flop. Good on them for realizing it before it was too late — even if it was at the last minute.

Tom Warren:

Sitting right next to Nelson’s Column, the giant Surface dwarfs all the other historic statues at Trafalgar Square. Microsoft built the structure in around 12 hours, and it’s 27 feet wide and 17 feet high, making it a roughly 383-inch display. A purple Type Cover 2 has been recreated, with keys that feed back to a Surface Pro 2 nearby.

There is a word for this. Surprisingly, that word is not “desperate”, it’s “tacky”.

Speaking of Microsoft’s Frank Shaw, he’s back…:

Seems like the RDF (Reality Distortion Field) typically generated by an Apple event has extended beyond Cupertino.


But you wouldn’t know that from reading some of the coverage I’ve read today. Perhaps attendees at Apple’s event were required to work on iOS devices that don’t allow them to have two windows open for side-by-side comparisons, so let me help them out by highlighting the following facts…

Yes, the tens of millions of people buying iPads are simply brainwashed. That’s clearly what’s going on here.

It seems almost unbelievable that Shaw would write this post on The Official Microsoft Blog, and yet, here it is. It’s a fascinating post because it’s a mixture of pure marketing (“I have to say, I’m really excited for a 1080p Lumia with a third column on my start screen..”) and actual reality distortion. 

But it’s hard to get riled up about such posts any more. Given Microsoft’s position in the tablet space, this whole thing just reads as sort of sad. (And yes, a little Baghdad Bob-y.)

Nick Wingfield:

For its full fiscal year, which ended June 30, total Surface sales were only $853 million, Microsoft said in its annual report. By comparison, Apple’s iPad sales during roughly the same time frame were $33.2 billion.

Yikes. But:

As before, the new Surface family includes two products, Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2. The Surface 2, called the RT in the first version…

At least they got the name right this time.

I still do not understand why the Surface (RT) line exists. I get the Surface Pro somewhat (though still don’t love its prospects long-term), but the Surface (RT) is significantly more expensive than any Kindle Fire, has basically no ecosystem when compared to any other Android tablet, and, of course, is no iPad.

I understand the desire to compete on the ARM side of the field, but they’re not really competing. They’re continually putting out a product that’s built to lose.

Samit Sarkar:

Microsoft’s partnership with the NFL also makes the Surface the official tablet of the league, and Microsoft hopes that teams will start to use the devices on the sidelines during games. We saw a brief demo of a Surface app called X2 that’s designed to allow team staff to more easily track concussions.

Something tells me we’re going to be seeing a lot of devices that look a lot like iPads on the sidelines but so obfuscated that you can’t quite make them out. Sure, they’re Surfaces! 

Todd Bishop:

To put the Surface revenue in perspective, the $853 million amounts to roughly 4.4 percent of the total Windows Division revenue of $19.2 billion for the fiscal year. It’s also less than the $900 million charge that Microsoft took against earnings two weeks ago to reflect a $150 price drop in the Surface RT, attempting to clear inventory due to slow sales.

For more context, Microsoft also notes in the filing that Windows sales and marketing expenses rose $1 billion in the fiscal year, an increase of 34 percent, “reflecting an $898 million increase in advertising costs associated primarily with Windows 8 and Surface.”

In other words, Microsoft spent more to advertise Windows 8 and Surface than it made in Surface revenue.

Not gonna say it.