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Microsoft The Almighty Buck Hardware

Microsoft Ships Surface Pro 2 Tablets With Wrong, Slower Processor 147

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the get-what-you-paid-for? dept.
SmartAboutThings (1951032) writes "Microsoft launched the Surface Pro 2 tablet in October 2013 with several hardware upgrades, like the new 1.6GHz Core i5-4200U processor specifically optimized for longer battery life and increased performance. Three months later, Microsoft decided to upgrade the CPU with a 1.9GHz Core i5-4300U unit that would be capable of taking these improvements even further. Although Redmond kept quiet about the improvement, tech savvy buyers were aware of the change. Now, according to some new reports, it seems that the company is still shipping the old models to buyers, despite the fact that Microsoft promised to deliver only upgraded models featuring the new CPU."
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Microsoft Ships Surface Pro 2 Tablets With Wrong, Slower Processor

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24, 2014 @08:18PM (#46569961)

    Apparently Microsoft is just as much to blame as the suburb of Redmond.

  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Monday March 24, 2014 @08:19PM (#46569969) Homepage Journal

    Thanks for playing! Enjoy the improved experience Windows 8.1 offers, over the competition!

    And don't forget to come back in 16 months. Sanjay promises to BALLMER you harder!

  • We have to unload the old ones may if we put 7 on them they will sell like hot cakes.

  • Don't these things sell a bit more slowly than MS predicts?
    • by tlambert (566799) on Monday March 24, 2014 @09:00PM (#46570249)

      Don't these things sell a bit more slowly than MS predicts?

      Not when Microsoft buys them from the vendors themselves, and then warehouses them. The problem is that old stock is removed from the front, and new stock is loaded in at the back, so unless they hit their predicted sales numbers, you get the older stock.

      Microsoft just promised that they would ship (eventually); the only date involved is the date they made the promise, not a dealine by which the new stuff would be shipping exclusive of the old stuff, and certainly not the unsold stuff already in the channel.

      What we have here is the use of an ambiguous generational designator that has nothing to do with the clock speed, and a journalist suffering sour grapes over not getting the faster model that has exactly the same description.

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        Microsoft just promised that they would ship (eventually); the only date involved is the date they made the promise, not a dealine by which the new stuff would be shipping exclusive of the old stuff, and certainly not the unsold stuff already in the channel.

        False. RTFA, which you clearly did not do.

        • by AK Marc (707885) on Monday March 24, 2014 @11:11PM (#46571015)
          I RTFA, and aside from sales people on the phone quoting the wrong processor, I didn't see anything that indicated a "deadline" for shipping only the new one. The story isn't about something like MS promising the newer processer and not delivering, but a call center person making an error in confirming a specification. There is a difference in intent and action, even if not much difference legally.
        • by David_Hart (1184661) on Monday March 24, 2014 @11:15PM (#46571041)

          Microsoft just promised that they would ship (eventually); the only date involved is the date they made the promise, not a dealine by which the new stuff would be shipping exclusive of the old stuff, and certainly not the unsold stuff already in the channel.

          False. RTFA, which you clearly did not do.

          Actually, the previous poster was right. Microsoft has never publicly announced that they were shipping the new processor. What happened is that the article writer called a customer rep who said that they would get the new processor. The customer reps may have been told that the new processor was coming and made assumptions. Its still on Microsoft as they obviously dropped the ball in clarifying the situation with the customer reps. But that doesn't make the previous poster wrong.

          All of the articles I can find on the topic indicate the same thing. There was no official announcement by Microsoft. Someone leaked the information to the standard tech magazines and the rest has been speculation, rather than fact.

          • as they obviously dropped the ball in clarifying the situation with the customer reps.

            Or told them to deliberately lie knowing that there was likely no proof of what the customer rep said.

  • I Predict (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Monday March 24, 2014 @08:29PM (#46570057)
    Surface tablets will end up in the same place as all those old Atari E.T. game cartridges.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I doubt it. A lot of people probably don't have a use for a surface, but I find that a tablet/laptop hybrid was exactly what I needed. 95% of the time all I want is to be able to read documents, but that other 5% of the time I really need to use office, or would quite like to play a game. Windows 8 actually works reasonably well on it, which shouldn't be a surprise - it's pretty obvious that it was designed around the surface. The price point isn't sustainable but if they fix that, I see no reason that the

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I doubt it. A lot of people probably don't have a use for a surface, but I find that a tablet/laptop hybrid was exactly what I needed. 95% of the time all I want is to be able to read documents, but that other 5% of the time I really need to use office, or would quite like to play a game. Windows 8 actually works reasonably well on it, which shouldn't be a surprise - it's pretty obvious that it was designed around the surface. The price point isn't sustainable but if they fix that, I see no reason that the Surface line can't stick around for quite a while.

        If microsoft were to continue to deliver the surface but under a different pricing model, they could very well take over most of the markets - especially if they introduced their own all in one touch desktop. i wish the market could really see the amount of effort MS engineers went with bringing the surface to market, i feel that it really should be image that all windows 8 pcs are molded from.

        • by redback (15527)

          For the surface to take off they need to do 2 things.

          1. stop restricting which retailers can sell the device.

          2. Let said retailers make a profit.

          1. Is mostly done, but 2 keeps us from stocking them ($20-$50 markup in a top end surface)

        • by symbolset (646467) *
          They are already losing billions on the product. Further discounting does not seem to be a helpful answer.
        • by mmell (832646)
          Agreed. I just wish the marketing and execudroids hadn't idiotically gone with that "one desktop fits all" paradigm. Just make sure the underlying support is identical across platforms and let desktop users continue using the interface they've been taught to use for over twenty years!. I'm okay if it looks different on a tablet than on a desktop, as long as it works identically on both platforms, I'm okay. The desktop is just an abstraction layer anyhow (or is that still not true in the MS/Win environme
          • It was stupid, but you know I can understand why they did it. Here's the problem with the surface: The screen is too small to use a lot of programs comfortably. It's definitely too small to use touch on desktop programs! My index finger covers at least three buttons on most menus. This isn't a resolution problem, just actual physical dimensions. So they build metro, a touch screen interface. Which is good, but now MS has a new problem: How do they get software developers to actually write software that uses

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yup, the Surface hardware is actually quite good, best hybrid currently available ... sadly Windows is Windows ... but, installing Ubuntu on these is trivially easy, and all of the 'touch' stuff 'just works', no need to find weird drivers, etc. I have an original SurfacePro, and it has proven to be a very useful machine - much more useful for 'real' work than any tablet, whether Android or IOS ... you can even put Android X86 on it, but it's not clear why you'd want to ...

      • by unixisc (2429386)
        I agree. A hybrid tablet/laptop - i5 based - should be able to do what I need. The touch works well, so only time I'd need to use a keyboard would be for typing. Something like an Office document. Otherwise, the touch interface should be good enough.
      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        I've seen a price of $999 for a pro version. That's way too expensive for a tablet, if using it as a tablet instead of a PC.

    • by antdude (79039)

      Well, that place is going to be dug up soon according to this article [sfgate.com].

    • by nhat11 (1608159)

      Except people will dig those tablets up unlike those crappy E.T. games lol

  • clickbait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24, 2014 @08:50PM (#46570187)
    The article explicitly says Microsoft store and site makes no such promise of an upgraded processor, all they is one report from a user that supposedly got told from someone in Microsoft that if they ordered they would get a newer processor (despite the website making no such promise). Why is this even a story?
    • Re:clickbait (Score:5, Insightful)

      by msobkow (48369) on Monday March 24, 2014 @09:18PM (#46570345) Homepage Journal

      Because you're supposed to froth at the mouth about Microsquishy instead of learning the facts.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Because you're supposed to froth at the mouth about Microsquishy instead of learning the facts.

        Unless you have some reason to disbelieve the report, the fact is that the buyer was promised the newer processor by an agent of Microsoft and then didn't get the newer processor. You're supposed learn the facts instead of making shit up.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by bloodhawk (813939)
          unless the actual source is provided that made said promise and it was someone that you would expect to be able to make such a promise then yes the facts pretty much say the story shouldn't be believed as all the verifiable facts contradict it.
          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            unless the actual source is provided that made said promise and it was someone that you would expect to be able to make such a promise then yes the facts pretty much say the story shouldn't be believed as all the verifiable facts contradict it.

            Those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to trust Microsoft, and those of us who remember them are doomed to watch you.

    • The article explicitly says Microsoft store and site makes no such promise of an upgraded processor, all they is one report from a user that supposedly got told from someone in Microsoft that if they ordered they would get a newer processor (despite the website making no such promise). Why is this even a story?

      Basically anyone selling anything will have in their terms and conditions that their agents are capable of making legally binding commitments, and nothing counts unless you have it in writing.

  • Uhm (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    So, company A decides to quietly upgrade gizmo X to ship with better-than-spec component Y. Months later, some buyers find Xes matching the original specs in the retail channel... news... not even at 11. A retail channel is a complex beast, you sell something into it, you'll never know when it comes out. Reminds me of the serial# checking you had to do on processors a few years back to determine if you had one of the good batches...

  • Smart move, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Antony T Curtis (89990) on Monday March 24, 2014 @08:58PM (#46570241) Homepage Journal

    Lets face it: They're probably sitting on a huge amount of old inventory and for every 1 semi-tech savvy customer who specifically wants the faster CPU version, there will be 1000 customers who wouldn't know the CPU from their elbow.

    • Actually, it's quite likely the Surface Pro 2 inventory is rather limited.
      That's probably what triggered the whole story with the better processor, Intel probably ran out of the regular one (For some mysterious reason, the only difference is a higher maxmimum clock - the price was the same last time I checked).

    • by badfish99 (826052)

      Oh yes, another Microsoft shill who is trying to tell us that they've got 1000 customers for this thing. We're not fooled.

  • Not news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Monday March 24, 2014 @08:58PM (#46570243)

    Customer buys Microsoft product. Gets less that they were led to expect. Customer buys another Microsoft product, gets screwed again.

    Sounds like their core business plan. Nothing to see here, move along.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by HerculesMO (693085)

      While it's always entertaining to read the same tired MS bashing, I got my wife the Surface Pro 2 for her work, and she loves it. It's an amazing machine, well built, great display, and has a wacom digitizer for her to take notes with. For $1000? Name me another product as versatile and portable. There isn't one. For all the MS hate, Windows 8 boots in 10 seconds from cold and it runs all the apps she needs or could need.

      The alternative was an iPad, but realistically to me it didn't make any sense because a

      • While it's always entertaining to read the same tired MS bashing, I got my wife the Surface Pro 2 for her work, and she loves it. It's an amazing machine, well built, great display, and has a wacom digitizer for her to take notes with. For $1000? Name me another product as versatile and portable.

        Galaxy Note 10.1/ Almost half the price too.

        • Also no Windows apps... for a certain market, it will do well. Like my wife.

        • While it's always entertaining to read the same tired MS bashing, I got my wife the Surface Pro 2 for her work, and she loves it. It's an amazing machine, well built, great display, and has a wacom digitizer for her to take notes with. For $1000? Name me another product as versatile and portable.

          Galaxy Note 10.1/ Almost half the price too.

          Um, he did say he got it for her for WORK... That means MS Office, email, etc. While I love my android tablet for personal stuff, its not capable of handling my work activities. Surface Pro 2 Supports Visio... For that alone I might pick one up....

          • by Jason Earl (1894)

            Actually, this is a huge part of Microsoft's current problem. 10 years ago "getting work done," meant using Microsoft software. These days, not so much. Even when people do buy a machine to run Microsoft software they aren't buying $1000 pieces of kit.

          • >While I love my android tablet for personal stuff, its not capable of handling my work activities.

            On its own it's not, but you can use Spashtop to remote into a personal or work PC to use software that requires Windows. I'd have bought a surface, but an Android tablet remoted into a Win 8 PC is close enough in functionality that I can't justify the expense of a Surface.
        • A galaxy 10.1 doesnt come with a nice wacom.

          • The Note does, but the lack Wacom digitizer is the least of any average Android tablet's problems.

      • by symbolset (646467) *
        You forgot to say how you make $2300/wk working from home with this one weird trick
        • by exomondo (1725132)
          The implication being that he is lying because it is impossible for a microsoft product to meet any person's needs? Personally I find the Surface pro to be really good, the weight and battery life (i have the 1st gen) let it down a bit but the screen and stylus make up for that, I dual boot Windows and Linux (both Ubuntu and Gentoo work well) so that combined with my iPad covers pretty much everything I need. It won't replace my iPad - some things are more suited to iOS and some to Windows - but it's certai
          • by symbolset (646467) *
            The implication being that he touches the top 15 marketing points for the product in three paragraphs. Nothing more, nothing less.
            • by exomondo (1725132)

              The implication being that he touches the top 15 marketing points for the product in three paragraphs. Nothing more, nothing less.

              But he didn't. You seem pretty vested in trying to bury his opinion simply because you don't like it not because there is anything wrong with it.

    • Fool me twice...maybe it's not a problem with Microsoft, eh?

  • See also wireless network stuff a few years back when the model number was kept the same while chipsets were changed. If people lost their driver disk it was a bit of a crapshoot to find the right driver for them. More than one vendor did that.
    • by mmell (832646)
      Still happens - I've got a Gateway ZX-6980, needed to do a full restore. Bought the five-disk restore set and when I'm done - the bluetooth doesn't work. Looks like they supplied four or five different drivers, none of them was the right one.

      Multiple downloads, driver updates, etc. later, still no bluetooth. Hey, I got 95% of my hardware back, that's what, 2-sigma (almost)? Not bad for Gateway (and before anybody says it - the reason I'm reinstalling Winders 8 is for my wife's use - CentOS6 was just fi

    • Not really comparable. The difference here is absolutely irrelevant, except during very heavy use (same silicon, higher maximum clocks).

  • by sootman (158191) on Monday March 24, 2014 @09:19PM (#46570351) Homepage Journal

    Both Surface customers have been notified and the situation is under control.

    • Seriously, these were never really funny. They're also completely irrelevant: the Surface Pros have been selling very well (unlike their crippled ARM siblings).

  • by Mr_Wisenheimer (3534031) on Monday March 24, 2014 @09:33PM (#46570417)

    The Surface Pro is a great computer, basically a high end ultrabook in tablet form. Thanks to advances by Intel, this makes Windows 8.1 tablets available in almost every price range, and with the same battery life as an iPad, often at a cheaper price point if they are using the new Atom netbook processors rather than the high end ultrabook core processors like the Surface does.

    Given these developments, Windows RT tablets seem about as useful as Microsoft Bob. On the high end, they cannot compete with their own Windows x64 tablets. On the low end, they are too pricey and with too small of an app store to compete with Android. Also, the fact that the two tablet series carry similar names just drags down the market potential of the x64 Surface line and confuses consumers.

    It's time for Microsoft to take Surface RT, roll it into Windows Phone, and get out of the ARM tablet business. Let Apple and Android fight over the toy tablet market. Pulling stunts like shipping older CPU's in new products without telling anyone is just going to hurt Microsoft's business in the long run. A $350 tablet that can run Windows desktop apps is a potential money maker. A $400 Surface RT tablet that can run Office, browse the web, and do little else offers nothing over Android or iOS.

    • by hackus (159037)

      Given the security issues currently with iPhone/Android, there is no way I would want, nor would I suggest putting a Windows OS on a tablet or phone.

      • by symbolset (646467) *
        The alternative is an OS with a browser that can't even safely display an image, with an office suite that can't even safely parse a text file. Android seems armor plated in comparison.
      • Windows OS has been on tablets since Microsoft introduced XP Tablet Edition back in 2002. It's not exactly a new phenomena. Windows RT (which is a half a decade too late getting to the market), which runs on low end ARM tablets is the new phenomena. From everything I have seen, it is at least as secure as iOS or stock Android.

        It's problem is simply that it got to the market too late to beat Apple and Android to the punch and only about a year before Intel introduced low-powered Atom and Core processors t

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24, 2014 @11:11PM (#46571017)

      I have a Surface pro 2. I can tell you it's a terrible computer. It tries to do two things and fails at both. As a tablet it's too heavy and bulky -- it has a fan! When's the last time your tablet starting blowing heat at you when playing a movie?

      So then you try to use it as a computer. Well, you can't on your lap really because of the floppy keyboard. Plus the trackpad is a joke so you have to plug in a mouse. You fire up the Desktop -- and usability goes into the toilet because either sh*t is minuscule on the 10" screen, or it's altogether fuzzy because the software hasn't been adapted to high DPI. The whole software system feels bonky, rough, un-thought-through.

      Oh and of course if you make the mistake of hitting the windows key you get a circus screen of flashing tiles all blaring at you with news and "friends" and stocks and weather and ads -- just because you wanted to start a program.

      Ultrabooks, thank goodness, have at least 11" screens but usually at least 13".

      • The weight of the Surface Pro 2 is similar to that of the original iPad (about a third heavier), something that I don't remember too many people complaining about being heavy. I guess after getting used to using tablets that were five pounds, the Surface Pro 2 feels light as a feather to me, but I suppose some smaller people, especially women, might have trouble with the weight.

        Also, remember that the Surface Pro 2 is a top of the line ultrabook in tablet form. There are much smaller, lighter Windows tabl

        • Well, a small difference in weight (1.9 lbs vs 1.5 lbs) is a lot when you have to hold something in your hands for a long time. After 4 years, the heaviest iPads are 1lb with some models less than 1lb.
          • Absolutely true, and if the iPad Air could run Mathematica, MS Office Enterprise, Matlab, IDL, et cetera, I would buy one in a heartbeat.

            My last tablet PC weighed in at just under 5 pounds. For me, that was about the maximum weight limit I felt comfortable holding in one hand for an extended period. The Surface Pro 2, by contrast, feels like a feather. I don't have to cradle it in my arm to hold it for hours.

            And it weighs less than the lightest Macbook Air, which is also quite a featherweight in my book.

            • Eventually the ultrabooks and tablets will weigh less over time. MS is at a disadvantage in that they have to use heavier Intel framework in the Surface Pro.
              • Actually, I don't think the Intel framework has much to do with the weight. The plastic Windows mini tablets using Intel Atom processors are often lighter and cheaper than iPads.

                There is a lot of weight that the Surface Pro could shed without losing the x86 processor. They could switch to netbook processors with passive cooling. They could ditch the metal frame for a plastic one. They could ditch the internal digitizer. They could use a smaller screen with less protection. . . .

                The thing is basically a

                • Actually, I don't think the Intel framework has much to do with the weight. The plastic Windows mini tablets using Intel Atom processors are often lighter and cheaper than iPads.

                  Surface Pros have all used the Core i5 series not Atom processors which are heavier with all the required infrastructure than Atom.

                  • I know, my point was that Microsoft could manufacture a Surface Pro with an "Intel framework" (your words) that was about as light as an iPad Air. Other Windows 8.1 Tablet Manufacturers do.

                    The weight is, to some degree, a design and marketing choice to place the Surface Pro at the high end of the market.

      • You're obviously missing the point of it then. It's magnificent as a notebook (as in sheets of paper, not laptop) replacement that can double as a usable Ultrabook or tablet.

        High DPI is going to be an issue until most software is updated to support it, that's true. Doesn't bother me that much though, Office 2013 does fine, as do the browsers.

        As for the mouse/trackpad issue: the thing has a touchscreen. Fingers work roughly 40 percent of the time and the Wacom stylus works another 40 percent of the time. Tha

    • Windows RT is about much more than just supporting ARM... it's about getting rid of a legacy codebase. By releasing RT on a separate architecture, they can reasonably eliminate the compatibility without much pushback. If they released an x86/64 version of RT, there would be people up in arms. As it stands, it's a gateway drug. You can write .Net/JS based desktop apps and not have to worry about legacy overhead/bugs and one-offs. RT itself is a good idea, but the route they took is a bit backwards imho.
      • What are you talking about?

        All versions support all APIs. That means Windows RT supports Win32 (in fact, the WinRT API is just a fancy Win32 wrapper) and x86/x64 support WinRT.
        WinRT apps are only distributed through the store, while Win32 applictions are distributed like they've always been. The only exception is that Windows RT refuses to run unsigned Win32 applications, effectively limiting it to Microsoft's bundled stuff, like Office and IE.

    • The Surface Pro 2 has a battery life of around 7.5 hours [theverge.com] in mixed use.

      The iPad has a battery life of around 11 hours [macrumors.com] for "internet use"

      The Surface has very good battery life for a laptop, but it's still not nearly where the iPad is - which you'd expect with it having a desktop processor and OS.

      • Their factory spec battery life for watching video is the same. As for real use, I suspect the iPad probably is better, but I would want to see a side-by-side comparison using multiple and identical test standards to confirm it, not tests from two different websites. There are too many variables that can affect battery life.

        • Their factory spec battery life for watching video is the same.

          And yet, in real tests the iPad gets 12 hours of video playback (same link I had before).

          What you are saying reveals that Apple doesn't lie in marketing battery life while other companies do, nothing more.

          Yes there are lots of variables that affect battery life but Apple has optimized most of them.

      • Have you ever tried to create *content* and effectively distribute it on an (unjailbroken) iPad? It is an exercise in futility and frustration. I have both (okay, not a surface, but Sony Win8.1 tablet), and I only use the iPad for surfing, watching the occasional TV show in bed, and as a big GPS in the car. OTOH, I use the Sony to edit CAD drawings, type up reports and send them to clients, mark up architectural prints (pixel accurate pen FTW*), compose music, transcode and distribute audio files...pretty

  • Next time you try a silent refresh, go ahead and ship all the old models out first before sending off the new one...
  • by OhANameWhatName (2688401) on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:28PM (#46570745)

    Microsoft Ships Surface Pro 2 Tablets With Wrong, Slower Processor

    Tablets? They sold 2 of them?

  • The thing that is most wrong with Surface Pro 2 is the operating system
    '

  • that "wind8apps" site is a spam site run by one troll... no credibility at all. Simply reworded the report from pcpro.uk
  • Fast processor, slow processor -- I for one couldn't care less; I'm confident that the experts at Microsoft do the right thing for me. After all, I'm the customer.
  • I recently bought a 2014 model year car. But they gave me a 2013 model since "they had a few left in stock that they needed to get rid of, first." Regrettably, since this is completely normal in the car industry, I have no recourse.

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.

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