Leaked Microsoft memo points to high initial return rates for Surface Book & Surface Pro 4...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2017
Problems with the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 may be responsible for Consumer Reports's recent decision not to recommend the Surface line as a whole, a leaked Microsoft memo suggests.




Return rates for the Surface Book hit 17 percent at launch and stayed above 10 percent for the following six months, according to the memo by Microsoft's corporate VP Panos Panay, obtained by Paul Thurott. Returns for the Pro 4 hit 16 percent at launch, but fell under 10 percent a little over a month later.

Microsoft was one of the earliest adopters of Intel's "Skylake" processors, used in the Book and Pro 4, and Thurrott said that senior Microsoft officials complained about their bugginess. Those issues reportedly led to a decision to push ARM support in Windows 10, and as well as a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Lenovo, in which Nadella asked how the latter was coping with Skylake reliability problems -- only to be told there weren't any.

In truth, Microsoft's custom drivers and settings were responsible, one source told Thurrott. The latest Surface devices -- the Surface Laptop and the fifth-generation Surface Pro -- are allegedly stopgap solutions meant to improve reliability, and have supposedly delayed the release of a mobile device codenamed "Andromeda," as well as a new Surface Hub, the latter now expected in 2019.

Improvements in both older and newer devices aren't reflected in the Consumer Reports survey, Panay wrote. He also suggested that some incidents described as "failures" -- like frozen screens or unresponsive touchscreens -- were minor problems quickly fixed by owners.

Favorable reviews and customer satisfaction are essential for Microsoft if the Surface line is to compete with Apple's iPads and MacBooks. The Surface Pro is sometimes held up as one of the best alternatives to the iPad Pro, since it runs a full desktop OS -- the iPad is dependent on iOS, which is comparatively restricted. Apple is looking to improve that to a degree with this fall's iOS 11.
pscooter63
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    Count me as one of those. Returned my SP4 after only a few days.
    peterhartSpamSandwichrepressthispscooter63cornchipwatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 2 of 28
    "... a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Lenovo, in which Nadella asked how the latter was coping with Skylake reliability problems —only to be told there weren't any." Let the gûd times roll ... or continue rolling. Hopefully Nadella responded by shrieking, "DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS."
    StrangeDaysmacky the macky[Deleted User]lolliver
  • Reply 3 of 28
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,386member
    So, I found links indicating that both Google and MS are working separately on "Andromeda" code named software; in Google's case, melding Android OS and Chrome, and in MS's case, allowing Windows 10 to run on a wider variety of devices, likely including ARM,

    I'm not finding any links to "Andromeda" hardware from MS, so maybe this is just Thurott.


  • Reply 4 of 28
    qwweraqwwera Posts: 253member
    Never having have touched the thing, I said at the time that the detachable screen hinge was only bound to come back and haunt them. It was clearly clearly obvious.
    and that’s exactly one of the main problems with it.
    When people can spot the problem from a mile away, that says a lot about the management at the company.

    And let’s not forget the launch was plagued by software glitches.
    Tech blogs like The Verge were all too happy to proclaim it a winner and kiss some MS ass.
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 28
    appexappex Posts: 687member
    It is hard to believe how people can use such an anti-intuitive, awkward and malware-filled operating system as Windows is. Windows is basically maintained by inertia and ignorance. The day the Mac reaches 20% market share, Windows will be history in three years.

    cornchiplolliver
  • Reply 6 of 28
    robjnrobjn Posts: 201member
    tmay said:
    So, I found links indicating that both Google and MS are working separately on "Andromeda" code named software; in Google's case, melding Android OS and Chrome, and in MS's case, allowing Windows 10 to run on a wider variety of devices, likely including ARM,

    I'm not finding any links to "Andromeda" hardware from MS, so maybe this is just Thurott.


    Thurott knows Microsoft stuff, including internal Microsoft code names.
    edited August 2017 ronncornchip
  • Reply 7 of 28
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,610member
    MS's Panay better find out that you need to take your time and not release a product with bugs.   They may have learned their lesson since the new Surface Pro stuck with the old Type A USB connector instead of jumping to Type C.
  • Reply 8 of 28
    I have a number of friends on Windows, and many are happy campers, still using W7. The sentiment I hear is 'if it ain't broke' when I ask about upgrading from a 9 year old OS...

    I have to ask if that camp would ever put up with the churn of annual MacOS 'upgrades' and the associated hassles when buying new hardware and peripherals, as such may force upgrades (at expense) for other apps and limit access to legacy ones...?

    I expect Apple will keep developing their OS, and ask if that may by design always limit the Mac to a niche percentage: "Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast, twice as easy to drive – but would only run on 5 percent of the roads."

    www.laughbreak.com/lists/if-microsoft-built-cars/

    appex said:
    It is hard to believe how people can use such an anti-intuitive, awkward and malware-filled operating system as Windows is. Windows is basically maintained by inertia and ignorance. The day the Mac reaches 20% market share, Windows will be history in three years.

    edited August 2017 cornchip
  • Reply 9 of 28
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,414member
    This is what happens when software people think they can design hardware, they think it does not have to be perfect since you always can update it later once the customers find your bugs.
    pscooter63muthuk_vanalingamlolliver
  • Reply 10 of 28
    chiachia Posts: 692member
    I have a number of friends on Windows, and many are happy campers, still using W7. The sentiment I hear is 'if it ain't broke' when I ask about upgrading from a 9 year old OS...

    I have to ask if that camp would ever put up with the churn of annual MacOS 'upgrades' and the associated hassles when buying new hardware and peripherals, as such may force upgrades (at expense) for other apps and limit access to legacy ones...?

    I expect Apple will keep developing their OS, and ask if that may by design always limit the Mac to a niche percentage: "Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast, twice as easy to drive – but would only run on 5 percent of the roads."

    www.laughbreak.com/lists/if-microsoft-built-cars/

    appex said:
    It is hard to believe how people can use such an anti-intuitive, awkward and malware-filled operating system as Windows is. Windows is basically maintained by inertia and ignorance. The day the Mac reaches 20% market share, Windows will be history in three years.

    Nine years worth of unpatched security vulnerabilities suggests Windows 7 is very much broke indeed.
    Undoubtedly many malware writers and "Windows Security" call centers are happy their income is maintained by preying on those happy campers failing to upgrade and update.

    You speak of the expense of annual hardware churn with Macs yet ironically as a whole Macs have longer usage lives and lower overall total cost of ownership than Windows machines.
    In any case, even if were not the case, keeping up to date is usually cheaper than losing money and your financial identity to fraud.

    As for the if "Macintosh [sic] would make a car" analogy, it's extremely poor:  Mercedes has  a niche, less than 5 percent marketshare yet is vehicles are capable of going anywhere the other vehicles go.
    We may yet see Apple release a car...
    edited August 2017 watto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 11 of 28
    I guess the memo...surfaced. Yeah, I went there.  :)
    pscooter63cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 28
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,058member
    I'm not a fan of Windows, though having to use it in enterprise for 10+ years, it wasn't has bad as I'd been lead to believe. Oh there were bad BSOD days but not the rampant nightmare of legend.

    Still, I was always happy to get back to my Mac. Over the last few years, Apple cavalier attitude with UI gives me pause, and in someways annoys me more than Windows did, on occasion.

    Given the strides MS has made with their OS, I'm somewhat saddened at their problems with the Surface(s).

                                   Competition is good only if it's good competition. —macgui. 

    I like to competition and seeing Apple kept on its toes. But this does point out the fact that Apple takes hardware execution seriously. They have occasional missteps but generally make good on them. But then MS isn't really real competition for Apple as they aim for different market segments.

    In the meantime, it's back to the drawing board for MS.
  • Reply 13 of 28
    petiegpetieg Posts: 21member
    Had a client who bought the SurfacePro 4 -- the OS failed simply after logging in 1-2 times, and doing one round of updates direct from MS .... I took it home, built the USB recovery drive (useful), reinstalled and it's been fine ever since... But man, what a horrible out of the box experience... 
  • Reply 14 of 28
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,555member
    tmay said:
    So, I found links indicating that both Google and MS are working separately on "Andromeda" code named software; in Google's case, melding Android OS and Chrome, and in MS's case, allowing Windows 10 to run on a wider variety of devices, likely including ARM,

    I'm not finding any links to "Andromeda" hardware from MS, so maybe this is just Thurott.


    I don't have a lot of time for Thurrot, but he knows Microsoft and he knows Intel. He was the first journalist to break the news that Apple was switching to Intel. No one believed him because Apple had already bought PA Semi, so the popular thinking was that Apple was going to develop their own PowerPC chip. 

    How little we knew back then…
    edited August 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 28
    I have a number of friends on Windows, and many are happy campers, still using W7. The sentiment I hear is 'if it ain't broke' when I ask about upgrading from a 9 year old OS...

    I have to ask if that camp would ever put up with the churn of annual MacOS 'upgrades' and the associated hassles when buying new hardware and peripherals, as such may force upgrades (at expense) for other apps and limit access to legacy ones...?

    I expect Apple will keep developing their OS, and ask if that may by design always limit the Mac to a niche percentage: "Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast, twice as easy to drive – but would only run on 5 percent of the roads."

    www.laughbreak.com/lists/if-microsoft-built-cars/

    appex said:
    It is hard to believe how people can use such an anti-intuitive, awkward and malware-filled operating system as Windows is. Windows is basically maintained by inertia and ignorance. The day the Mac reaches 20% market share, Windows will be history in three years.

    Apple's business plan is quite intentional in its decision not to pursue market share dominance. They are successful precisely because they don't try to be all things to all people. An iPad Pro is an iPad, not a mini-mac. It runs iOS, not MacOS. The software and hardware are designed together, and neither is built to run with other operating systems and machines. That drastically limits error-causing design variables, which is what creates the consistency and reliability Apple is known for.

    The Microsoft Surface machines follow the all things to all people model. It's a tablet, it's a notebook. It runs Windows. Windows runs on a bunch of other machines made by other manufacturers, including tablets, notebooks, desktops, hybrids, and hybrids of hybrids. They all have myriad individual drivers, hardware, and specialty functions. This is how Microsoft gets to market share dominance, but it's also how they can end up with a flagship hardware device with a ten percent failure rate. 

    Luckily for Microsoft, they will continue to have room to stumble along through these issues, because Apple is showing no signs of changing their business model. Luckily for Apple users, Apple still appears to have no intention of trying to be all things to all people. As a result, when Microsoft stumbles, Apple isn't going to impulsively rush to market with some jury-rigged product to fill a gap in Windows world. Nor will they seek to undercut Microsoft by selling cut rate Macs or iOS devices, or make either OS available for thrived-party hardware. Apple is doing just fine being Apple, which leaves plenty of room in the market for others to pursue other approaches. 
    Rayz2016bb-15pscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 28
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,558member
    Tried a Surface for about 10-15 minutes and experienced a high confusion and annoyance level. First and last time.
    watto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 17 of 28
    I have a number of friends on Windows, and many are happy campers, still using W7. The sentiment I hear is 'if it ain't broke' when I ask about upgrading from a 9 year old OS...

    I have to ask if that camp would ever put up with the churn of annual MacOS 'upgrades' and the associated hassles when buying new hardware and peripherals, as such may force upgrades (at expense) for other apps and limit access to legacy ones...?

    Umm, probably not, since they probably don't now and likewise wouldn't have to with MacOS. The difference, of course, is that they will face FAR more problems running an old Windows OS. You make a terrific point, maybe not the one you meant, but, whatever.
    watto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 18 of 28
    I have a number of friends on Windows, and many are happy campers, still using W7. The sentiment I hear is 'if it ain't broke' when I ask about upgrading from a 9 year old OS...

    I have to ask if that camp would ever put up with the churn of annual MacOS 'upgrades' and the associated hassles when buying new hardware and peripherals, as such may force upgrades (at expense) for other apps and limit access to legacy ones...?

    I expect Apple will keep developing their OS, and ask if that may by design always limit the Mac to a niche percentage: "Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast, twice as easy to drive – but would only run on 5 percent of the roads."

    www.laughbreak.com/lists/if-microsoft-built-cars/

    It's the road that takes you to the future.
    The other roads just go in circles and you end up where you started.

    You don't have to get on the upgrade treadmill. In 10 years you'll still be using the same "if it ain't broke" operating system. Meanwhile, the Mac users are living in the future.
    zeus423watto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 19 of 28
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,382member
    Tried a Surface for about 10-15 minutes and experienced a high confusion and annoyance level. First and last time.
    I went on a diving trip with a friend of mine that brought a Surface to process diving photos.  It was hilarious watching a USB mouse being buggy on it.  Poor guy had a momentary rage on it smakching it so hard it almost went across the room.

    I decided I was happy with my iPad.
    watto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 20 of 28
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,078administrator
    zeus423 said:
    I guess the memo...surfaced. Yeah, I went there.  :)

    chia
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