Internal Microsoft memo blasts Consumer Reports' Surface complaints

Internal Microsoft memo blasts Consumer Reports' Surface complaints
Recently, a survey of 91,000 laptap and tablet buyers put together by Consumer Reports, found that 25% of Microsoft's Surface devices have problems by the second year of ownership. As a result, the magazine.pulled its recommendation of Microsoft's Surface tablets because of poor reliability. Among the devices losing their recommended status are the Surface Pro tablet and the Surface Book. Consumer Reports now says that it can not recommend any other Microsoft built tablet because of "poor predicted reliability." Some of the issues that Surface tablet users have complained about include unresponsive touchscreens, devices freezing unexpectedly and units turning off at inappropriate times.

Today, an internal Microsoft memo written by Microsoft corporate vice president Panos Panay was outed by journalist Paul Thurrott. According to the memo, issues with Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book at the time of their launch were Intel's fault thanks to problems with the “Skylake” generation chipsets. But reportedly another trusted source said that Microsoft made that up and the real issue has to do with custom Surface drivers. That led to an interesting exchange of dialogue between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Lenovo executives. Nadella assumed that Lenovo was also having issues with Skylake and wanted to know how the company handled it. That would be a typical friendly discussion between two competitors except for one major problem; Lenovo wasn't having any such issues at all, indicating that Microsoft had made up the story and no one told its CEO.

Panay says that his team has worked hard to improve Surface Pro 4 and Surface Pro (2017), and the executive says that these improvements were unfortunately not reflected in the results of the Consumer Reports survey. He also says that some of the issues that Consumer Reports calls problems, like a frozen or unresponsive screen, are just minor problems easily rectified by the user. Panay also points out that the "incidents per unit" (IPU) for Surface devices is extremely low at less than 1%, and return rates have been improving.

Eventually, Consumer Reports might decide to return its recommendation, but even if it doesn't, we wouldn't expect too many potential Surface Pro buyers to feel the need to check in with the publication before purchasing a Surface Pro slab.


Return rates have been trending downward for Microsoft's Surface products

Return rates have been trending downward for Microsoft's Surface products


source: Thurott

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22 Comments

1. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Random freezes are very common since we roll out Windows 10 to all staff. I also start seeing people need to reboot their notebook in the mid of their presentation. Something I have never observed before Windows 10. Personally I think we have went back to pre-Windows 2000 instability. Windows 2000 is the most stable Microsoft OS with its fresh out of the oven NT kernel.

2. diggie32

Posts: 388; Member since: Apr 03, 2016

Windows 10 is horrible. Can't disable the lockscreen that i need to click twice (once to get rid of their picture of the day), even though I don't have a password. I disabled the picture, but after an update it decided to turn it back on. That's just one of the things of top of my head. My favorite was Windows 7, but ms makes you jump through hoops to update things like directx.

7. notfair

Posts: 698; Member since: Jan 30, 2017

diggie32 stfu, Windows 10 is very good, I don't understand these trolls with their stupid reasons to hate something. (like me apple :) )

9. diggie32

Posts: 388; Member since: Apr 03, 2016

I just remembered the forced updates and spying on windows 10. Very good?

16. Nopers unregistered

Windows 10 is a gaming platform.

4. HansP

Posts: 542; Member since: Oct 16, 2011

If you're a real life IT manager, your company is doomed. Literally doomed. I can imagine you're one of the security "experts" companies like Renault used up until this spring's massive exploit flood due to incompetent IT managers defending non-action as a working safety model. If you don't understand the core differences between Windows 2000 and Windows 10, you should hand in your resignation at your job right after finishing reading this line.

5. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

I don't understand the point you are making. It's not my call whether to roll out Windows 10 or not. I am just sharing my observation on the stabillity of Windows 10. Besides with Microsoft current update modal, things are constantly influx.

8. buccob

Posts: 2952; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

When I was about to get my Surface Book, i asked about it to a friend that had it from launch and he told me it was a nightmare at first but then after the updates it was great.... And just like he said, when I received it I spend a full day updating and going through BSOD, glitches, etc, until I reached the latest update... And after that it has been a great experience... (sometimes there are bugs) but I never had to restart in the middle of a presentation... Windows 10 is it unstable, but in my opinion is also the best version regarding functionality, looks and versatility. The same goes with the hardware of my Book

11. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1457; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

BSOD is caused by drivers and poor quality part's. After I started building my own PC's with top tier quality parts that fell to the wayside.

12. buccob

Posts: 2952; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

BSOD happen for various reasons... my BSOD happened due to bad firmware... And after that was resolved, it hasn't happened again. I can't think of cheap components of my Book... Probably the entry models with slow SSD... But the 512GB on mine performs great. The same goes for RAM. The problem with the Book is that it has several design innovations that had no precedents and thus the drivers needed for them were all first timers... The detach mechanism... The dynamic dGPU... All of that is new to this form factor. They should have release the device when all the issues were fixed, and I wouldn't have bought it at launch... But right now, they are great devices....

20. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

The question is why does Windows 10 BSOD more often to say Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1 during their respective time period. That's the mystery.

21. buccob

Posts: 2952; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

I haven't noticed an increase in frequency... but given that most people is updated to Windows 10.... and BSOD could be anything from bad RAM to faulty drivers... well... there is no conclusion... Should be better to analyse each type of BSOD and group them accordingly by Windows Version and Type.

22. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

I don't have the numbers what I notice are people reboot their notebook in the mid of their presentation. The funny thing is that it's so common that it's no longer embarrassing. I still remember the day when Bill Gate make a presentation of Windows 98 and it crashes and that was embarrassing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=SG&hl=en-GB&v=55xqB_pLjlk

15. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Windows 2000 is the most stable? No it's not. Not anymore. That once was true. Windows 7 is the best version period at this point, that is capable of running today's software. Windows 2000 can't even run anything pass applications past 2003.

19. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

I am comparing the user experience during their respective period. I would be nuts to compare Windows 2000 to Windows 10 in 2017.

18. tangbunna

Posts: 458; Member since: Sep 29, 2016

windows found new update, will restart in next 10mn. ..... updating..... 30mn later... updating.. do not turn off.... 50mn later updating.. 1mn remaining but 60mn later still updating... do not turn off...

3. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1457; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

How about using more premium parts. All the money charged for inferior par5s is also an issue with drivers

6. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Not aware that Microsoft is using cheap parts for their Surface product lines. Any links?

10. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1457; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

Why do you think Lenovo has no issues. I am not a hater. Call them and ask who makes the mother board,and memory. I bet it will be generic. Lenovo makes good quality equipment.

13. buccob

Posts: 2952; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

No need to call anybody... Simply go look iFixit website and see for yourself https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Microsoft+Surface+Book+Teardown/51972 The only crappy component I saw was the Marvell Avastar wireless card, however I have no complains on my device... It works. No Surface device can have generic motherboard... It is simply not possible for that design... It has to be custom made.

14. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

When I purchased my original Surface, I had an issue with it not turning on right away, or simply failing to boot. I had to hold thr power+volume buttons, to make sure it powered completely off. Then it would boot up fine. It appeared that the device simply didn't power down properly. The next issue was, after an update, the fans would instantly turn on as soon as Windows finished loading from boot. Microosft suggested, removing a particular driver, and installing thr older version which I did, and it solved the issue. But as soon as I installed an anniversary update, it started that again and I Was unable to go back to the older driver. I got tired of that and had Microsoft replace it. The replacement does the same thing. I have complained about it constantly, but there is simply no fix. Immediately after boot the SP4 heats up and the fans just run constantly. I even have a laptop cooler I lay it on, but it doesn't help. It runs great. It doesn't run slow at all. I have reinstalled the firmware once just to see if it would improve the result, but it didn't. I also formatted the internal drive, and simply installed Windows 10 on it from scratch and then installed the Surface drivers package afterwards, and it still the same issue. Or at least I assume its an issue. Anyone here also have an SP4 where the fans seem to NEVER turn off?

17. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Gotta look at other reviews other then Consumer Reports. Don't trust much of their stuff anyways.

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