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Microsoft Surface ad fails to Excel at math, according to Apple's Numbers

post #1 of 224
Thread Starter 
Less than a month after a Microsoft PR executive dismissed Apple's Pages, Numbers and Keynote productivity software as "watered down imitation apps," the company has erected giant billboards depicting its own Excel failing to add seven numbers correctly on a Surface tablet.

Excel Surface fail


The advertisements (including the one above at Market Street at Sanchez in San Francisco) depict a Surface with a bright blue keyboard displaying an Excel spreadsheet for calculating vacation expenses and presenting them as a pie chart.

The device also displays a photo of Hawaii in a separate window at the same time. "This is not just a laptop," the ad announces, "this is the new Surface. One device for everything in your life.""Helping folks kill time on a tablet is relatively easy. But helping people be productive on a tablet is a little trickier" - Frank Shaw, Microsoft

The ad was presumably approved by Microsoft's Corporate Vice President of Communications Frank Shaw, who last month penned a scathing dismissal of Apple's iWork productivity apps for Macs, iCloud and iOS devices after the company announced it would make new versions of its software available for free with new hardware sales.

In his scoffing public tirade, Shaw stated, "Surface and Surface 2 both include Office, the world's most popular, most powerful productivity software for free," adding that "Apple's decision to build the price of their less popular and less powerful iWork into their tablets [is] not a very big (or very good) deal."

Shaw added, "let's be clear - helping folks kill time on a tablet is relatively easy. But helping people be productive on a tablet is a little trickier," and ended with a jab at the "struggling, lightweight productivity apps" Apple is now offering at no additional cost.

Enhance!



Despite the incredible "power" of Office's productivity, Microsoft's own depiction of its software running on its hybrid tablet results in a $500 error. Charged with adding up just seven rows of numbers, Microsoft Excel running on the Surface comes up with a total of $9,000, as can be seen in the zoomed in detail below.

Excel Surface fail


The correct sum for the numbers is $9,500, which Apple's Numbers app has no problem calculating on either an iPhone, a Macintosh, or even the beta version of iWork for iCloud accessible via a web browser. Despite lacking some features, such as chart editing or 3D depictions, the browser accessible Numbers can still add correctly.

Excel Surface fail

Excel Surface fail

Excel Surface fail


The only explanation for Excel's big billboard bug blunder is that perhaps Office is stuck writing off most of the cost of the Surface in its calculations, after Microsoft was similarly forced to erase $900,000,000 of its earnings after Surface tablets failed to sell last year.

Surface Ad


That figure was larger than the total revenues Microsoft reported collecting from Surface sales, without figuring in the $1 billion advertising campaign for Surface and Windows 8 that featured dancers (above) jumping in fountains while clicking and snapping at the cover of the Surface device while presumably doing serious calculations in Excel.
post #2 of 224
Ah, DED, such a clever title, and such a ripe opportunity to poke fun at our favorite headless nemesis! Soooo many MORE heads will roll over this one!

Did you yourself spot the error? What a rabid newshound you are!

I'm amazed that even you would catch this error, as it's such a tiny detail of an otherwise very bad billboard design--hard to read text "at a glance" and such a NON-eye-catching design. They need to take some lessons from McDonald's. But then, they need a product or two which is half as tasty!
Edited by DanielSW - 11/10/13 at 4:52am

Daniel Swanson

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Daniel Swanson

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post #3 of 224
Please forgive me. I know my comment will add no value to the thread... but I can't help it!

All I want to say is:

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
post #4 of 224
I'm guessing the ad was created by an agency who, undoubtably, use Macs. Perhaps as their own poke at MS? Regardless, this is one of those things that should not have gotten past all the people who must have had their names on check boxes for reviewing the ad.

DED should be sending this piece along to a few of the major news outlets - would be funny to see how MS responds.
post #5 of 224
Hahaha! I love the bit at the end about the people jumping in fountains doing serious calculations in Excel! Brilliant piece, Daniel! Keep up the great work!
post #6 of 224
The Numbers example did a great job of adding the column of numbers, but what's with the chart? It is quite lovely, all 3D and all. However, it has TWO slices labeled "Car" and NO slices labeled "Surf Rentals". Does Numbers have trouble with transposition of the content of a spreadsheet to a chart?
post #7 of 224
Very funny. But can I just say pie charts are an abomination especially 3-D pie charts. 1oyvey.gif
post #8 of 224
Think about it for a moment.

Just how desperate is MS, that they've resorted to *advertising* Excel?

Office is entrenched. Has been for years. I can't remember the last time I've seen any of it marketed so openly like this.

We're talking about the so-called lowly iWork, something that MS recently dismissed. And now they're trying to promote their spreadsheet software over Apple's? LMAO

Office software is MS' last bastion. They can't do hardware right (or profitably.) They've already screwed their OEM partners. And now they feel their core biz being threatened by Apple's little Office suite.
post #9 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaFlash View Post

The Numbers example did a great job of adding the column of numbers, but what's with the chart? It is quite lovely, all 3D and all. However, it has TWO slices labeled "Car" and NO slices labeled "Surf Rentals". Does Numbers have trouble with transposition of the content of a spreadsheet to a chart?
lol.gif Good catch. Just basically made this article all that more cringeworthy.
post #10 of 224
And this right here, this is why I read AI.
post #11 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by dnd0ps View Post

And this right here, this is why I read AI.
To find out that numbers (or DED) sucks at pie charts? 1wink.gif
post #12 of 224
I think the real issue here is that someone is taking a vacation in Hawaii and has to make a SPREADSHEET.

This is Microsoft's idea of "doing work".
"Picasso had a saying, 'Good artists copy, great artists steal.' And we've always been shameless about stealing great ideas."
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"Picasso had a saying, 'Good artists copy, great artists steal.' And we've always been shameless about stealing great ideas."
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post #13 of 224
I'm sure it's just a rounding error.
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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post #14 of 224

Wait - the Surface is the one device for everything in your life? I thought the Xbox One was the one device for everything in your life. More numeracy issues?

post #15 of 224

Hold on a second, you mean sometimes the things displayed in adverts are a mockup / edited image of the actual product? I had no idea.

 

Edit: I notice DED hasn't even bothered to check if the issue affects actual copies of Excel and seems to have treated the billboard as a functioning copy. 

post #16 of 224
I am as big an Apple fan as anyone, but there may be a simple explanation for the $500 discrepancy in the total.

I noticed in the ad the cell with 500 is still highlighted. If this means that the user entered the 500 without committing the change (hitting enter), the value would not have been counted in the total. I couldn't see if there was an active cursor in the field, but if there was, that would be the clincher. If there wasn't, it could just mean that the software that made the screen shot did not include the cursor in it.

Sorry to put a damper on the Microsoft bashing. They do a good enough job with their comical attempts at copying Apple.
post #17 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkLite View Post

Hold on a second, you mean sometimes the things displayed in adverts are a mockup / edited image of the actual product? I had no idea.

Edit: I notice DED hasn't even bothered to check if the issue affects actual copies of Excel and seems to have treated the billboard as a functioning copy. 
Also didn't bother to notice that his pie chart lists car twice.
post #18 of 224

LOL

 

A good catch by DED and pretty embarrassing for MS.  Somebody in marketing is in trouble =p  If the Surface actually did calculations like this that would be another thing and it would be in serious trouble too.   Well..... more serious trouble than it already is in.

 

DED's charts show a problem too, which is equally embarrassing given the fact the point was to slam Microsoft =p   It shows car twice  and no surf rentals as someone previously noted, but it is an actual screenie from a Mac (unless DED takes the time to draw these things up).  Additionally it chose to put the wrong labels on the bar charts showing what looks like the 'food' expense as 'car' as well as simply choosing to skip a few columns.

 

Again, I doubt that is an actual error on the Mac's or iWork's part...

 

Maybe the take away is marketers and sensationalist journalists should stay away from math and tricky charts :p

post #19 of 224

Here is the spin--or maybe the truth--"We wanted to showcase one of the powerful features - Automatic Calculations turned on or off.  In this instance, automatic calculations are off.  We wanted to showcase this great feature."

post #20 of 224

I cannot understand the requirement of an advertisement of MS Office! after all if the one shown in the ad is a productivity thing, then such can be easily accomplished by old calculators for that matter.

post #21 of 224
Too funny.

Almost as funny as Microsoft choosing to replicate an error in the date function from Lotus because they decided compatibility was more important than accuracy and this error persists to this day...

Found this out when converting between Excel and Numbers. Numbers gets it right.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/214326
post #22 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by CMoebius View Post

I am as big an Apple fan as anyone, but there may be a simple explanation for the $500 discrepancy in the total.

I noticed in the ad the cell with 500 is still highlighted. If this means that the user entered the 500 without committing the change (hitting enter), the value would not have been counted in the total. I couldn't see if there was an active cursor in the field, but if there was, that would be the clincher. If there wasn't, it could just mean that the software that made the screen shot did not include the cursor in it.

Sorry to put a damper on the Microsoft bashing. They do a good enough job with their comical attempts at copying Apple.

 

It looks like a mockup to me, because the cell is highlighted and contains a number, but the content bar is empty, which it wouldn't be - at least if it works like the desktop version. Why do they even do that, when it is so easy to use the real thing?

post #23 of 224
It makes my head hurt that advertises make so much money when they arguably make no contribution to society, but scientists get paid so little...
post #24 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post
 

 

It looks like a mockup to me, because the cell is highlighted and contains a number, but the content bar is empty, which it wouldn't be - at least if it works like the desktop version. Why do they even do that, when it is so easy to use the real thing?

I sometimes wonder that when watching the movies. Whenever they show computer screenshots it often looks like they have dummied up an entire OS rather than just use a real screen grab. 

post #25 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bhaskar Bhat View Post
 

I cannot understand the requirement of an advertisement of MS Office! after all if the one shown in the ad is a productivity thing, then such can be easily accomplished by old calculators for that matter.


An old calculator can handle editing multiple rows, edit text, and generate pie charts that can be emailed and shared?

post #26 of 224
Excel might fail to add numbers in an ad.

But Apples Numbers 3 fails to add numbers in reality on your computer and your iPad (both versions have the same bug).

Details and an example file are in this blog article: http://www.gerdcastan.de/en/content/numbers-3-cell-bug

I love Microsoft bashing, too (for other reasons than Excel). But in this case...

Gerd
post #27 of 224

Microsoft's next ad could be "Save more than 5% on your next vacation with Microsoft Surface" ;) 

post #28 of 224
Wow. This is worthy of an article? This is shameful. Let MS or Google and Apple fight it out accordingly but this is cheap. Office is better than anything Apple has EVER put out, this no one can argue. They're just using it as feature which is smart. The same way Apple uses their ecosystem to sell iStuff. The surface is actually very nice, I prefer the iPad of course but I have both. He surface is better at some things but that's life, no device is perfect. So what if the calculation is off? Would anyone in their right mind use numbers over excel? Never. It was maybe a typo, who knows?
post #29 of 224
This article is in bad taste. DED, are you undergoing a writer's block that you have to resort to such a twisted and distorted article?
post #30 of 224

And, unlike their disgusting and pathetic YouTube videos which Microsoft takes down seconds after failure (the “fly on the wall” series, the one where the Xbox One was caught displaying the Playstation 4 version of a game, etc.), this will stay up and wrong.

 
Originally Posted by BigPapi View Post
Office is better than anything Apple has EVER put out, this no one can argue.
 

Hi, one post. Shut up and go away. We don’t like lies here, hence this article about an ad that lies.

 
They're just using it as feature which is smart.

 

Not when the feature is broken.

 
The same way Apple uses their ecosystem to sell iStuff.

 

Has Apple ever gotten arithmetic wrong on their ads?

 
He surface is better at some things but that's life

 

Crashing, getting viruses, overheating…

 
no device is perfect.

 

This is the standard Anti-Apple Brigade excuse for not even trying to be perfect.

 
So what if the calculation is off?

 

So you go bankrupt because it lets you overspend. Are you really suggesting a program who’s SOLE PURPOSE IT IS TO DO CALCULATIONS is usable if the calculations are off?

 
Would anyone in their right mind use numbers over excel?

 

Well, given that Numbers DOESN’T GET WRONG SIMPLE ARITHMETIC, yes.

 
It was maybe a typo, who knows?

 

So the software’s SELF-RUNNING ALGORITHMS FOR COMPUTING THE VALUES OF CELLS IN THE TABLE “made a typo”, did it? 

 

Do you honestly expect us to accept your pathetic premise that someone is just using Excel to have all his numbers lined up in a row, pretty, and has done the calculations by hand on paper elsewhere?!


Edited by Tallest Skil - 11/10/13 at 6:49am

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #31 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigPapi View Post

Wow. This is worthy of an article? This is shameful. Let MS or Google and Apple fight it out accordingly but this is cheap. Office is better than anything Apple has EVER put out, this no one can argue. They're just using it as feature which is smart. The same way Apple uses their ecosystem to sell iStuff. You guys can't be such fanboys not to appreciate something else other than Apples stuff. The surface is actually very nice, I prefer the iPad of course but I have both. He surface is better at some things but that's life, no device is perfect. I know this is AI but have some balls to appreciate another product. So what if the calculation is off? Would anyone in their right mind use numbers over excel? Never. It was maybe a typo, who knows? It is idiotic to write an article about this. Shameful.

 

You need to loosen up a little - he's just poking fun at MS, which is a long-standing and honorable tradition even amongst those of us who use their products all the time.  I would mention that "so what if the calculation is off" is a somewhat ironic comment when made in regard to a spreadsheet advertisement though.

post #32 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by AeronPrometheus View Post

I think the real issue here is that someone is taking a vacation in Hawaii and has to make a SPREADSHEET.

This is Microsoft's idea of "doing work".

It would be if you were a travel agent preparing a budget for your client.

The bigger question I have is, why are they advertising it as "not just a laptop" when it looks just like a laptop, and shows none of the reasons it's not. Shouldn't the ad read, "it's not just a tablet"?
post #33 of 224
Sure it's pointed out before, but "free (with a subscription)" isn't really all that free.

But anyway, it's still puzzling (somewhat) why Microsoft hasn't swooped in with Office for iPad, especially with the numerous complaints from long-time users of iWork. Seems like a golden opportunity.
post #34 of 224
Of course the reason it's off is that it's probably a mockup done by some print production artist in illustrator rather than an actual screenshot. Or it could be that it is actually a screenshot (you don't need much resolution for a billboard) and maybe they just missed a cell in the formula. But it's still funny.
post #35 of 224
Hmmm... Doesn't Excel recalculate when you finish editing a cell? And isn't the cell containing $500 highlighted for editing (& might it not have contained $0 prior to editing)? Poor art direction, but nothing wrong with the operation of the spreadsheet. But don't let that spoil your fun!
post #36 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigPapi View Post

Wow. This is worthy of an article? This is shameful.

 

What is shameful is people who feel compelled to sign up in order to whine about this accurate article. I find you to be an extremely suspicious character, and I do not trust your intentions.

 

Microsoft can dish it out, but they can't take anything in return? Have you not seen the ads bashing Apple? Have you not seen Microsoft using SIRI's voice in their ads, to promote their failed Surface tablet? Are you blind? Have you been living under a rock? Do you receive a Microsoft paycheck?

 

And yet, an accurate article comes along, pointing out an embarrassing flaw in Microsoft's recent ad, and that causes you to lash out at the article which points out that flaw? Truth be damned, nobody should dare speak about this! Are you part of the Gestapo?

 

Do you not see the enormous irony in a spreadsheet program getting it's math wrong? What is your defect? Microsoft deserves all of the mocking that it's going to get for this. 

post #37 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by GerdC View Post

Excel might fail to add numbers in an ad.

But Apples Numbers 3 fails to add numbers in reality on your computer and your iPad (both versions have the same bug).

Details and an example file are in this blog article: http://www.gerdcastan.de/en/content/numbers-3-cell-bug

I love Microsoft bashing, too (for other reasons than Excel). But in this case...

Gerd

I see that you found the culprit, it being the German version of the formula. File a bug report :
http://www.apple.com/feedback/numbers.html

If you create a sparse image it will grow in size as needed; right now you have created a standard dmg file with a fixed size, being 40MB.

I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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post #38 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigPapi View Post

Wow. This is worthy of an article? This is shameful. Let MS or Google and Apple fight it out accordingly but this is cheap. Office is better than anything Apple has EVER put out, this no one can argue. They're just using it as feature which is smart. The same way Apple uses their ecosystem to sell iStuff. You guys can't be such fanboys not to appreciate something else other than Apples stuff. The surface is actually very nice, I prefer the iPad of course but I have both. He surface is better at some things but that's life, no device is perfect. I know this is AI but have some balls to appreciate another product. So what if the calculation is off? Would anyone in their right mind use numbers over excel? Never. It was maybe a typo, who knows? It is idiotic to write an article about this. Shameful.

You forgot the /s
post #39 of 224
Originally Posted by bruceldavies View Post
But don't let that spoil your fun!

 

Don’t let the fact that this isn’t an excuse spoil yours, hit and run.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #40 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkLite View Post
 

Hold on a second, you mean sometimes the things displayed in adverts are a mockup / edited image of the actual product? I had no idea.

 

Edit: I notice DED hasn't even bothered to check if the issue affects actual copies of Excel and seems to have treated the billboard as a functioning copy. 

seriously? The whole jist of it- is that MS scoffed at iWork- but their ad for it shows excel computing incorrectly . Whether Excel works for the math in real life is irrelevant.

Its funny....

android sucks, but not as much as the people who come here to defend it.

New for MS dorks - Microsoft sucks just as much as the losers that come to AI to defend it

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android sucks, but not as much as the people who come here to defend it.

New for MS dorks - Microsoft sucks just as much as the losers that come to AI to defend it

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