What’s behind that sleek, shiny Surface tablet? An Apple iPad!
Last night’s election was great for some, not great for others, and perhaps uneventful for others still. Generic political summations aside, Microsoft is suffering from a bit of a product placement goof in the aftermath.
As all news channels do on election night, CNN was in full-on election coverage mode last night. And because such coverage always focuses on half-dozen (give or take) talking heads summarizing the changing political landscape, Microsoft wanted its Surface tablet products in full view.
And thus, a partnership was born. CNN (after some palm-greasing, no doubt) teamed up with Microsoft on election coverage, providing logistics and feedback via Bing, Bing Pulse, Internet Explorer, and Surface tablet hardware.
As the election coverage started, the Surface tablets were on full display, with CNN’s coverage team seemingly using the hardware to keep tabs on elections and incoming news. But the luster wore off rather quickly for Microsoft, when changed camera angles revealed that several of the analysts were using Apple-made iPads hidden behind the Surface tablets (see the embedded tweet). That’s about as harsh a product placement gaffe as I can think of.
The agreement, outlined on Bing Blogs, doesn’t specifically mention the Surface hardware, which means the tablets could have simply been thrown in as a sweetener. The deal specifically points to Bing Pulse, which allowed CNN to pull in real-time feedback from viewers who were using the Pulse feature online. Bing Pulse allows users to up- or down-vote various trends and decisions, specifically focused on Election 2014 in this case.
This isn’t Microsoft’s first product placement struggle in 2014, either. The tech giant has partnered with the NFL to put its Surface tablets in the hands of every football team in the league. And while the hardware is used extensively, many in the various NFL broadcast booths are still referring to the Microsoft tablet by the iPad moniker.