This is not an iPad, sports announcers © Richard Levine/Demotix/Corbis
Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.
This is how hard it is to break a brand.
As far as so many people are concerned, all tablets are iPads.
It doesn’t matter who makes them or what they’re called. The word “tablet” is merely a tech industry word. Out there where it matters, they’re all iPads.
This is something from which Microsoft suffered during last year’s NFL season. Having spent a reported $400 million to bring its Surface to NFL eyes, announcers kept referring to it as “the iPad.”
At the time, it was said that networks were constantly reminding their talkers that the Surface looks nothing like an iPad and should therefore be referred to by its actual name.
Thus, this year was going to be different. Coaches had their specially prepared Surface Pro 3’s at hand. The Surface was the official tablet of the NFL.
However, in Thursday’s season opener featuring the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers, there was veteran NBC announcer Al Michaels saying over an image of the Patriots coach holding his Surface: “Bill Belichick on his iPad.”
Microsoft didn’t respond to a request for comment. However, it must be galling in the extreme to see a product you’ve worked hard to launch and harder to improve still somehow not entering the common consciousness.
This must have been especially taxing on Microsoft’s nervous system during a week in which Apple launched its new iPad Pro. This new (and large) machine, when all its accessories are attached, does bear some similarity to the Surface.
I can imagine that e-mails between Microsoft, NBC and the NFL must have flown during and after the game.
But what can you do, other than keep trying?