Microsoft Excel can’t add

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.

Frank Shaw’s head must have exploded.



  • yummyyummyfly

    Is @fxshaw really his twitter account? It looks like a parody. Of himself.

    • http://info-tran.com/ Info Dave

      That’s the sad fact.

  • Rob Hooft

    Could this not be easily explained if the $500 car expense (under the current focus) has just been added, and not yet “entered”?

    • Ben

      No, as it is clearly shown in the pie chart!

    • arcsine

      Sure. The pie chart could easily be the ‘active’ window updating live. While any other field & its associated function is waiting for ‘whatever’.

      This story is plain trolling. It’s not good when Apple is the target, nor is it good when anyone else is the target.

  • Razvn
  • Philip Stratford

    Wow. And who said Apple people were petty and smug? Is it just POSSIBLE that, for marketing purposes some guy in a photography studio didn’t bother (or know how) to write a formula, but just entered the total manually instead?

    Are you REALLY suggesting that the world’s most widely-used spreadsheet application isn’t capable of adding up a few lines of numbers? Or that somehow the Surface’s “lack of power” is causing it to fail to calculate correctly? How many businesses would be struggling to balance their books if Excel couldn’t add up properly? Millions!

    The icing on the cake in that article is the Numbers comparison of the same calculation. The author was actually so gleeful about this perceived mistake that he took the time to replicate the graphic in Apple’s spreadsheet application to prove, with hilarious triumphalism, that – LO! – Apple’s product CAN add up seven simple figures!

    Seriously, Apple is cool, its products are cool, they know how to market them and people buy them in their millions. So why do so many of their fans have to be such douchebags?

    • Oomu

      ?? you are really serious ? “douchebags” ?

      you know it’s about Microsoft, and Microsoft (or Apple) is not any company : There is a long History between Microsoft and Apple.

    • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

      if you’re going to demonstrate a feature or an app, take the extra thirty seconds to make sure it’s correct. This is not rocket science.

      • Luděk Roleček

        Yes, you should definitely take those extra 30 seconds to check everything in your ad. Agreed. It’s ok to make fun of the ad and of the wrong sum result displayed there.

        What Philip Stratford was trying to say is that it is kinda douchebagy to make up the whole story about Excel not being able to add 7 numbers and that it’s probably because MS is busy counting its Surface losses. That’s kinda bullshit and you shouldn’t do that unless you really picked up Surface, typed those 7 numbers in there and wrong result really came up. (It really won’t.)

        I bet that spreadsheet doesn’t even use formula for sum, someone in studio just typed all those numbers by hand when creating the screenshot. Shit happens, don’t be so gleeful about it. That was the Philip’s point I think.

      • Philip Stratford

        I totally agree, this should have been checked by a dozen people first and the fact that it wasn’t, or that they all missed it, is very poor. But that doesn’t justify the tone of Dalrymple’s article.

        • Moeskido

          Whether the software adds correctly isn’t entirely the point here. It’s also about the perception of the software’s capabilities that Microsoft itself just damaged by putting that ad up in public.

          Their Marketing people were careless with what I surmise is an important campaign. That tells me there are parts of Microsoft that are perhaps not run as rigorously as, say, Excel’s development team.

          That indeed merits ridicule, if not (by extension) CTO concern.

  • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

    More like someone can’t write a solid formula. :-)

  • yummyyummyfly

    Frank Shaw now claims that the cell is “in-edit” and hence the auto-sum formula has not been updated yet. However, if it was “in-edit”, the number would be aligned slightly more to the right than the other numbers (see Link 1 below), and the number would show up in the formula bar (see Link 2 below).

    Frankie boy, the handsome Marine, has been caught with his pants down, I’m afraid.

    Link 1: https://twitter.com/venkyc/status/399610171535544320/photo/1/large

    Link 2: http://www.brainbell.com/images/30/1.jpg

    • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

      Two different versions of Excel. I don’t have a Surface to confirm or deny but it is possible it works different on device but I doubt it.

      The obvious issue is a formula doesn’t include a row. Clearly Excel can count but Shaw stuck his neck out with a bad answer here.

  • Moeskido

    If the calculation error isn’t reproducible on an actual Surface, then this image was merely a poorly-proofread ad graphic that was rushed out the door with insufficient scrutiny.

    If you’re going to make a billboard that brags about how great your spreadsheet is, get the math right and don’t be a tool about your error when confronted by it.