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Microsoft Intel Hardware

Microsoft Blamed Intel For Its Own Bad Surface Drivers (thurrott.com) 169

Paul Thurrott reveals a new internal Microsoft memo from corporate vice president Panos Panay which acknowledges "some quality issues" with their launch of Surface Book and Surface Pro 4. But an anonymous reader quotes a darker story from Thurrott.com: Multiple senior Microsoft officials told me at the time that the issues were all Intel's fault, and that the microprocessor giant had delivered its buggiest-ever product in the "Skylake" generation chipsets. Microsoft, first out of the gate with Skylake chips, thus got caught up by this unreliability, leading to a falling out with Intel... Since then, however, another trusted source at Microsoft has provided me with a different take on this story. Microsoft, I'm told, fabricated the story about Intel being at fault.

The real problem was Surface-specific custom drivers and settings that the Microsoft hardware team cooked up. The Skylake fiasco came to a head internally when Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella met with Lenovo last year and asked the firm, then the world's biggest maker of PCs, how it was dealing with the Skylake reliability issues. Lenovo was confused. No one was having any issues, he was told. I assume this led to some interesting conversations between the members of the Microsoft senior leadership team. But the net result was that Microsoft had to push out some existing designs quickly to get ahead of the reliability issues.

The Surface Book ultimately had a 17% return rate after its late-2015 launch, while the Surface Pro 4's return rate was 16%. So though Microsoft later pushed to improve subsequent releases, Panay's memo claims that "These improvements were unfortunately not reflected in the results of this [Consumer Reports] survey." The memo also reiterates high customer-satisfaction metrics, which Thurrott says "supports the contention that I made two days ago... Customers who spend more on premium products tend to be more satisfied even when they are unreliable because they need to justify their own decision-making process."

"He also suggests that what Consumer Reports calls a 'failure' is perhaps overly-broad and that some incidents -- like a frozen screen or unresponsive touch -- are not 'failures' but are rather just minor incidents that are easily rectified by the user."
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Microsoft Blamed Intel For Its Own Bad Surface Drivers

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  • "Failures" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 13, 2017 @11:11PM (#55005857)

    >like a frozen screen or unresponsive touch
    Had I just bought a device worth a few grand, and the primary interaction interface spontaneously stopped working, I'd bloody well call that a failure.

    Interesting insight into corp culture at microsoft, no surprises really though.

    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Sunday August 13, 2017 @11:19PM (#55005895)
      I'd call it "Hewlett Packard"
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Be nice, those two guys focused on qualityabive everything else. The company name changed to HP which was about the time they became purely and acquisitions and mergers house with no interest in quality.

        What you call Hewlett-Packard was spun off as Agilent and they still make the best stuff. HP on the other hand is basically a disaster

        • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
          I had a HP calculator. The ones with the gold and blue buttons. It was a good machine even though you had to do everything differently. I have an HP laptop. It's a pile of shit and overheats. Before you tell me abut lint buildup in the fan - it overheated and shut itself off within 48 hours of purchase. Fuck that shit. Even ASUS or Dell is better than that.
    • Re:"Failures" (Score:5, Interesting)

      by binarybum ( 468664 ) on Sunday August 13, 2017 @11:47PM (#55005991) Homepage

      I have two surfaces, one lost touch ability completely at a hardware level, the other will not hold calibration. I had not heard of it being such a common problem until now though.

                  Pity, Microsoft used to make good hardware. Looks like they've already given up with the Surface 5 and based on how expensive that model is, they must be expecting a high return rate once again. Also, when you are on your fifth iteration of a system where each release has had angry mobs asking for the damn keyboard to be included, perhaps you shouldn't piss feverently on your fan base by not only ignoring that, but now also charging extra for a stylus?

      • Re:"Failures" (Score:5, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday August 14, 2017 @12:37AM (#55006149) Homepage Journal

        Pity, Microsoft used to make good hardware.

        When was that? Ergo keyboard is fragile. Classic Microsoft mouse likewise. Microsoft talisman failed. Xbox fails. Xbox 360 RROD. Access point garbage. When did Microsoft make good hardware?

        • Re:"Failures" (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 14, 2017 @01:25AM (#55006283)

          When did Microsoft make good hardware?

          when they paid Logitech to make no frills mice

        • Some Microsoft ball mice were great, this can't be said about any of their optical mice, though. All the rest of their hardware was and is crap.

          And let's not even start about Microsoft's software.

        • I had the old sidewinder gamepad, and my Sidewinder X4 keyboard is still running nicely
        • I had the original Microsoft optical mouse (I don't recall the exact name) but it lasted for 15 years, and served as my gaming mouse during that time. That's the first iteration of that hardware. Yes, Microsoft at one time made great hardware, at least when they were making mice and keyboards.

          • I was quite happy with mine for several years as well, at least until the cable broke internally at the mouse due to a known design defect in the stress relief. But they replaced it with the updated version for free, which I think I still have floating around somewhere as a backup.

        • by dryeo ( 100693 )

          I had a pretty decent Z80 board for the Apple II that was made by Microsoft.

        • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

          When was that? Ergo keyboard is fragile.

          The ergonomic keyboards Microsoft sells these days may well be fragile; I wouldn't know because the two Microsoft ergonomic keyboards I use every day (one at home, one at work) have both been working fine since I bought them (in ~2003 and ~2010, respectively. The latter purchase was a replacement for an identical Microsoft ergonomic keyboard whose return key started to get intermittent after some soda was spilled into it -- but I'm not going to count that against the keyboard)

          • The latter purchase was a replacement for an identical Microsoft ergonomic keyboard whose return key started to get intermittent after some soda was spilled into it -- but I'm not going to count that against the keyboard)

            The flea market score dell keyboard I use has water channels.

        • Ergo keyboard is fragile. Classic Microsoft mouse likewise.

          And that wasn't always the case. Emphasis was on the "used to".

        • I was quite happy with my Microsoft Sidewinder force feedback joystick and wheel - until they declined to update the drivers for XP, revealing that their peripherals used some non-standard protocol that wouldn't work with standard drivers.

    • by stooo ( 2202012 ) on Sunday August 13, 2017 @11:51PM (#55006019)

      Yeah, 17% return rate is "high customer-satisfaction metrics" in MS language.
      I would be fired for releasing a product with one tenth of that.
      I wonder what this "customer-satisfaction metric" is onWin10...

    • >like a frozen screen or unresponsive touch
      Had I just bought a device worth a few grand, and the primary interaction interface spontaneously stopped working, I'd bloody well call that a failure.

      Interesting insight into corp culture at microsoft, no surprises really though.

      If it is something you can fix yourself in software then it's not a hardware failure and should rightfully be excluded. How you define personal failures is quite irrelevant when it comes to product returns for hardware failures, which is what the original discussion was about.

      • Re:"Failures" (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert.slashdot@firenzee@com> on Monday August 14, 2017 @03:44AM (#55006581) Homepage

        Having to "fix" something is a failure, regardless of who performs the fix.
        Having to reboot is not a fix, as the problem is only going to reoccur at some point.

        The hardware and software are sold together as a complete unit, a failure of either is a failure of the purchased product.

        Microsoft have succeeded in lowering peoples expectations to such a degree that these things seem acceptable.

        • Having to "fix" something is a failure, regardless of who performs the fix.

          So by your standards consumer computers pretty much have a 100% failure rate. Also not differentiating who performs a fix is stupid and pointless from an analysis point of view. If I can fix something by doing a factory reset there's orders of magnitude less effect on me than if I have to RMA something, not to mention the fact that there's also a good chance it was user error in the first place.

          • by swb ( 14022 )

            Within the realm of consumer products, personal computers are already kind of unreliable even when they generally work to common standards of "reliability".

            Having a common component fail regularly isn't good, even if something like a reboot fixes it. I had a laptop that would lose Bluetooth periodically, requiring a reboot to fix it. Of course when BT died, my mouse died, and it was almost never convenient to reboot.

            For a lot of ordinary users, screwing around with driver updates is beyond their abilities

        • Microsoft customers are treated like mushrooms; they're kept in the dark and fed shit.

        • I hate Apple, but this is why Apple has rabid fans and Microsoft generally doesn't. Apple does a better job at sweating the details. Not a perfect job. Not a great job. Not a good enough job to justify the high prices. But much better than Microsoft. And it pays them back in rabid fan loyalty.

          Me, I'm a Linux geek. Stuff breaks a lot. But I'll take a hundred headaches from a global network of loosely connected volunteers over five headaches from a hundred billion dollar mega-corporation.
          • Apple has been changing and is getting worse about paying attention to those details. They are more about monetizing the users now. Ever since they bought Beats the Music app on the iDevices has gone downhill in order to get you to stream music.

            If you just want to listen to only the music that you have on your phone you lose a bit of screen with a banner that's present when you are moving through the lists telling you that you are only looking at downloaded music. They could show that at the top of the list

      • If it is something you can fix yourself in software then it's not a hardware failure

        That's completely untrue if the "fix" is just disabling the non-working part. That's not hyperbole: that's not an exaggeration [extremetech.com]that happens a lot. So say you pay $1000 for a CPU with lots of FLOPS you use for machine learning stuff. It turns out that the CPU is very unstable when crunching lots of numbers, so a new stability patch comes along that disables half the FPU. Voila, your computer stops crashing now! Of course your workload runs half as fast now, but at least it's stable!

        If "fix" means "coerce into

    • by Anonymous Coward

      > Had I just bought a device worth a few grand, and the primary interaction interface spontaneously stopped working, I'd bloody well call that a failure.

      C'mon. Cut them poor guys some slack. You wouldn't call that "a failure" if you were a seasoned Windows user. Just "normal", more or less, no?

    • Back during the Vista debacle, a senior MS VP emailed executives about the "Vista Ready" fiasco. He had purchased a laptop with Win 7 on the understanding it would be Vista compatible when Vista was released. It could only run Vista Home Basic. He was stuck with a "$2,200 email machine". While he could afford a new laptop and get his machine back to Win7, he wondered how many of their customers was having this problem and the ramifications to MS.
      • How exactly is that possible given that Windows 7 was released several years after Vista?

        • How exactly is that possible given that Windows 7 was released several years after Vista?

          I think that the OP meant to type Windows XP, not Windows 7.

          The Vista debacle had nothing to do with system specs and everything to do with hardware manufacturers failing to Vista release drivers. None of the hardware and peripheral manufacturers believed that Microsoft was going to release Vista on time. So they didn't put any effort into developing Vista drivers.

          When people started upgrading to Vista they found that the XP drivers and apps no longer worked or caused blue-screens. For the most part, the

          • The Vista debacle had nothing to do with system specs and everything to do with hardware manufacturers failing to Vista release drivers. None of the hardware and peripheral manufacturers believed that Microsoft was going to release Vista on time. So they didn't put any effort into developing Vista drivers.

            So MS lowering the hardware requirements on Vista so that machines that couldn't run Aero had nothing to do with it? That was the whole point of the exec's email. His machine could only run Vista Home Basic which isn't really Vista. For years MS had planned the specs only to change them at the last minute because Intel would have had millions of chipsets that couldn't run Vista.

  • Hello Apple? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Neo-Rio-101 ( 700494 ) on Sunday August 13, 2017 @11:34PM (#55005943)

    "Customers who spend more on premium products tend to be more satisfied even when they are unreliable because they need to justify their own decision-making process."

    Apple's business plan summed up in one line

    • Back this up please (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I switched to Apple years ago b/c I was tired of putting up with buggy drivers and screwy behavior on Windows machines, after I made the switch pretty much all of the consultants I work with slowly did the same after seeing me "drink the kool-aid". An added benefit was the unibody Pros can take a surprising amount of punishment compared to most plastic bodied Windows laptops. Apple hardware has bugs, OSX has bugs... just like everything else. But I've never run into the problems I had with Windows and st

      • the unibody Pros can take a surprising amount of punishment compared to most plastic bodied Windows laptops.

        This is what keeps me buying Macs. I'm over the OS, though, and that programmable bar is a tumor.

      • by xvan ( 2935999 )

        a "Pro" laptop that only supports 16GB of RAM

        What do you work at that requires so much memory on a laptop?

        • by bungo ( 50628 ) on Monday August 14, 2017 @02:16AM (#55006389)

          It's very easy to need more than 16GB. A pro laptop is for work, not email and word.

          In my office, I have a collection of servers, my largest currently is 256GB dual socket 6-core Xeon. I have all of my test configurations of various systems on there.

          When I'm out at a client's office, sometimes I can't access my office servers, so I have to make do with what I have with me - a laptop. This can mean spinning up a couple or more of VMs, to simulate some client/server configurations. This usually means that I don't need a lot of CPU, as I'm not doing intensive work, but I need a lot of RAM, as I have a lot of processes that need to be started.

          Don't believe me? OK, this is something that I did recently. I set up a Hyperion EPM system, with one Oracle database server, two foundation apps servers, and an essbase server in an active/passive cluster. With the memory settings to be smallest possible, I could just get it started in 16GB of ram, but it couldn't run for more than 20 minutes before it would crash.

          Good enough for you?

          What, you're asking how many people need to do that? Well, I do, don't I count?

             

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by TellarHK ( 159748 )

            Hi. Welcome to being an edge case. 99.99% of people aren't you.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              First they ignored the edge case #1051 and I did nothing because my case is not #1051.

            • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

              Hi. Welcome to being an edge case. 99.99% of people aren't you.

              Yet they all need the 'pro' model? if the top line is supposed to just do what most people do what are the people who don't do that supposed to do? Well, they shouldn't be buying macs at all but that's besides the point.

          • tl;dr - runs Oracle VM's. Just saved you a bunch of time in the future.
          • by Bongo ( 13261 ) on Monday August 14, 2017 @05:23AM (#55006787)

            I'd question the "most people aren't you" comment as, I do use the new Pro as my main and only machine, and fortunately the VMs I use are not RAM hungry, but it was a real concern not having the option to get more RAM. It is a pity, as say you're an architect and want to run something like form.Z and do it all on your "Pro" laptop -- then what? The whole point of Pro is for the 1% who aren't the 99%.

          • No, you don't count, if only because you claim to be an uberuser that sometimes "can't" access his servers.
        • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Monday August 14, 2017 @03:37AM (#55006561) Journal
          The easiest way to use up that much RAM is to run a VM or two.
          • VMs? Programs in many fields are starting to be interlinked and request multiple programs to work on the same file at once. Clicking the edit file on a 50mpxl image in Lightroom will fire it up in Photoshop, and half of that RAM capacity is gone. God forbid you're editing out a detail of a panorama without the panorama app being closed first.

            It's not that hard to consume more than 16GB of RAM without any VMs running these days. Complicated calculations have been reduced to single clicks.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I'm the AC you're responding to. For me it's running VMs and working with large datasets for clients. As I said, I'm a consultant... I don't have an office to stick a nice workstation in and I'm not allowed to put most of my work on AWS or an equivalent. I have friends who do professional video work, that eats up memory fast as well. Does the average person need 16G? No. My wife is still chugging along fine with her 2-core 4GB Air. But there are many "professional" jobs that do need more than 16GB (e

      • the unibody Pros can take a surprising amount of punishment compared to most plastic bodied Windows laptops

        I couldn't disagree more.
        I've never heard someone replacing a laptop because the plastic case was damaged. I've heard one or two people rolling over their laptop with their car (duh!), but a metal case would have been of no help. People replace their laptop because they are too slow/old, or because electronic components break. Not because of cracked plastic bodies.
        The unibody metal case is all about look. It brings no added benefit, especially not durability. But a plastic case is more likely to protect the

    • Apple's business plan summed up in one line

      I'm typing this on an Early 2011 MacBook Pro. I gave them a nice chunk of change upfront when I bought it fully loaded, but not a penny in the 6+ years since then. You need to update your complaints.

      No, I'm not a cheapskate who refuses to upgrade. I'm just having a hard time justifying an upgrade from a perfectly-working 4-core i7 with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD that still runs all my development software - including lots of Docker VM stuff - just fine. If/when this thing eventually breaks, I'll shovel much

  • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Sunday August 13, 2017 @11:35PM (#55005953)

    Customers who spend more on premium products tend to be more satisfied even when they are unreliable because they need to justify their own decision-making process.

    Yep, this is a very well-known effect. I remember discussing this in a marketing class, and it's why you can find a lot of high-status consumer goods that are not very, umm, good.

    Our instructor even quipped: if you that know your product is likely to have a high return rate, you're better off seriously overpricing it and spending extra attention on styling and marketing. People generally hate to admit to being taken and will keep it to themselves. They're more likely to act like the product is everything they expected it to be, sometimes even to the point of telling their friends how great it is. This tendency will lower your rate of returns and will reduce the amount of bad press and word-of-mouth you'll get.

    Marketing is a sleazy business.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Sunday August 13, 2017 @11:48PM (#55005997) Homepage

      Good and poseur status are two entirely different thing. Poseur status is achieved by carefully created marketing memes to convince the public of the exclusivity and not the worth of a product, only the best most exclusive people can have it and nothing to do with the qualities of the product. This is exactly how you get the rich to piss thousands of dollar bottles of wine against the wall, or stupidly coating smart phones in diamonds or what ever else the shallow dick heads are pathetically convinced they need to pose with. Quality products can only ever reflect the workmanship that goes in them and how reliably they are fit for purpose, all else is nothing more than being a gullible victim of marketing. That we pillage out planet to achieve this, is rather disappointing.

      News at 11 when has not M$ not blamed someone else to start with, customers, suppliers, the government, always, always, somebody else's fault until their marketing and public relations fail and then it was the new guy, yep, he did it, all his fault.

      • News at 11 when has not M$ not blamed someone else to start with, customers, suppliers, the government, always, always, somebody else's fault until their marketing and public relations fail and then it was the new guy, yep, he did it, all his fault.

        You're having problems with your Surface Pro because you're holding it wrong.

    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *

      you can find a lot of high-status consumer goods that are not very, umm, good.

      Ya don't [youtube.com] say [youtube.com]?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by donaldm ( 919619 )

      Marketing is a sleazy business.

      Well said.

      I have noticed many of my friends have laptops that they spent ridiculous amounts of money on and all they do is surf the web. Some have even justified their purchase saying that they need it for work which IMHO is a really stupid reason unless their work subsidises them. Even purchasing Office applications for basic home use is a waste unless you are running a business and even then LibreOffice is usually fine.

      I find that a good desktop and a cheap but functional laptop is the best mix of co

      • What do you consider ridiculous amounts of money? Because a $2k laptop, which on the face looks really expensive, is ballpark $400/year over 5 years, which is also ballpark $1/day. Even a refresh every 3 years is still under $2/day.

        Is it worth $2/day for me to work on a nice machine? I think so. That plus the cellphone hardware still clocks in under a beer per day, which is what I consider throw-away money. My telecom bills are far higher than that. Lunch is higher than that!

        If you're spen

        • If you're deriving happiness from using a very expensive computer, I'll be the last person to say you're wrong.

          But breaking things down into cost/day is a bit of a deception (that's why so many companies do exactly this in their advertising).

          The important point isn't absolute cost, it's "value" per dollar. "Value" is a subjective thing, so what you consider valuable may not be the same as what I consider valuable. For instance, I'm unaware of any $2000 laptop that I think is actually worth $2000.

          • What's unreasonable about a daily rate? Is a better computer worth $1500 more? I'm really at a loss how to figure it. If I ask myself "Is it worth spending $2/day to have the better computer," I can decide more easily. I can picture that. If I like the more expensive computer more, and I'm going to use it for hours a day most days, I'm getting good value for $2. I spent a lot more than that getting a car I liked, and I use that maybe an hour a day on the average.

            • What I was trying to say was that the important point isn't the per-day cost, but the cost as compared to the alternative products.

              However, it is a common tactic to price expensive things on a per-day basis rather than their total cost, and that always raises a red flag to me. The reason is simple: it's manipulative when it's not applied to things that you're actually paying for on a per-day basis. Sure, it might cost $2/day over 5 years, but you still have to pony up $3650 all at once to get it.

              But I'm not

              • While the cost is all up front, the benefits aren't. If I go to a restaurant and buy dinner, I'm enjoying it that evening, and I can consider that night whether it was worth it. Durable goods don't work that way, and it's easier to compute per-day cost and compare it with per-day benefit. Obviously, I'm the only one qualified to say how valuable it is for me, and you're the only one qualified to say how valuable it is for you.

    • They're more likely to act like the product is everything they expected it to be, sometimes even to the point of telling their friends how great it is.

      You're ignoring the reason for ownership. You don't buy a Ferrari to get 500000km out of it. You don't buy a Renault Twingo for the awesome street cred afforded by the 1000cc engine. That doesn't mean you won't recommend it to people for a similar set of reasons.

      I am happy with my Surface Pro despite it having been replaced. I will recommend it because the replacement was painless and didn't detract too much from the other uniqueness. The lack of alternatives in the market helps as well (though not with sev

      • Despite it's failures and rubbish drivers it still is every bit the device many people think it is.

        Are you SURE you want to make such an "enticing" statement on Slashdot?

        I'll be kind, and not respond with the dozen or so snarky comments that statement elicits... ...But I'll bet that others won't be so restrained.

    • It's even worse when you learn who actually makes the laptops. The dirty little secret of the laptop industry is that almost no name brand actually makes their laptops. They're almost all made by ODMs - original design manufacturers [wikipedia.org]. They're like OEMs except they also design the product. All the brand name does is give the ODM the specs of what they want, approve the final design, and slap their label on it. The Macbooks for example are made by Quanta. Quanta also happens to make most of HP's and Dell
      • It's even worse when you learn who actually makes the laptops. The dirty little secret of the laptop industry is that almost no name brand actually makes their laptops. They're almost all made by ODMs - original design manufacturers [wikipedia.org]. They're like OEMs except they also design the product. All the brand name does is give the ODM the specs of what they want, approve the final design, and slap their label on it. The Macbooks for example are made by Quanta. Quanta also happens to make most of HP's and Dell's laptops.

        For Apple, at least, Quanta serves as nothing more than a CM (Contract Manufacturer). Apple designs nearly 100% of their hardware and software. Sure, like everyone else, some software and hardware bits are, or start from, reference designs; but in Apple's case, that's not the CM's call. It is Apple's.

        And I'm not so sure Quanta still makes any MacBook stuff. From what I can tell from recent (newer than around 2006) sources, most, if not all, of the Apple laptops are made by Foxconn. Again, strictly as a CM.

    • by mvdwege ( 243851 )

      you can find a lot of high-status consumer goods that are not very, umm, good.

      Prime example: high-end Italian sports cars. All the failures of Italian car manufacture, yet their status symbol function leads people to overlook that.

      (Although to be fair, Italians do know how to make cars and bikes that are fun to drive. Too bad they often stop there. And I say this as the owner of a Moto Guzzi motorcycle).

      • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

        Well, as the owner of a 41-year-old LeMans, it still "gives me the horn" despite a lack of electronic aids*. It's not fuel-injected, it has no anti-lock brakes, mechanical suspension adjustment, hand-wave accuracy from the instruments, etc. It'll never achieve emissions standards, but it still draws attention, and it. just.keeps.going. It continues to do the job it was designed for - a reliable, fairly fast sports tourer.

        *I caved in and installed an electronic igition system when I just couldn't tune it any

  • by BcNexus ( 826974 ) on Monday August 14, 2017 @12:40AM (#55006161)
    Silicon makers have a hard enough time writing drivers for their *own* products. MS thought they could make better drivers for third-party products, products that they didn't design, let alone manufacture? No wonder the Surface line has required esoteric firmware updates and has had heretofore head-scratching OS upgrade limitations. MS was trying to reinvent the wheel and failing with their home-grown idiosyncratic drivers.
    • Silicon makers have a hard enough time writing drivers for their *own* products. MS thought they could make better drivers for third-party products, products that they didn't design,

      Turn it around. MS has a hard enough time writing generic drivers on their own OS. Vendors thought they could make better drivers for Windows, a product they didn't design and don't have source code access to.

      The reality is this goes both ways and both sides of the coin have never truly seen what the other side has offered.
      Also your assertion that only "Silicon" makers write drivers is just silly. For the drivers we're talking about laptops rarely use the reference driver from the silicon vendor.

      That's no e

      • HP don't have this problem with their drivers.

        Tell that to my wife whose new-model HP had an HDMI driver that wouldn't deliver sound for a year and a half until an upgrade delivered that feature. The bottom line is that driver support sucks for most manufacturers, Microsoft included.

    • by jonwil ( 467024 )

      I do wonder why Microsoft decided to reinvent the wheel in the first place instead of using the same BIOS, firmware and drivers every other vendor shipping Windows 10 on a system with those particular Intel parts has been using...

  • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Monday August 14, 2017 @01:06AM (#55006233)

    Having had a few Surface devices there's something very consistent other than their failure rate: Shithouse MS drivers.

    A few things I've experienced:

    - Any attempt at changing MAC address of the wireless card causes bluescreen.
    - Surface Pro 3 for the first 6 months of my ownership had bad posterising on the display attributed to horrible MS graphics drivers. You could download Intel Iris Pro drivers from their website and force it to be installed over the MS's garbage but that would reset whenever MS pushed out another update. It was whackamole until MS finally fixed it.
    - Now the Surface Pro 4 Typecover lists Surface Pro 3 as a compatible device but due to a driver bug in the way it attempts to power up the typecover while folded back, waking the Surface Pro 3 from sleep takes ~15 seconds instead of the instant wake with the Surface in "laptop" orientation, or using a Pro 3 type cover. MS acknowledge the bug in Jan 2016 and promised a fix every month until they stopped promising.

    The Surface clones are starting to look mighty interesting now that they are starting to be feature comparable to MS's original.

    • Any attempt at changing MAC address of the wireless card causes bluescreen.

      Most WiFi card vendors started to prohibit this about 10 years ago due to the increased use of MAC address spoofing to try to break into networks. The laptop I bought in 2007 was the last one I owned which could do it. IIRC, one of the methods of cracking WPA used it to imitate a connected client and cause the access point to quickly generate a lot of (encrypted) response data which could be analyzed to guess the password.

      Of c

  • by XSportSeeker ( 4641865 ) on Monday August 14, 2017 @02:54AM (#55006469)

    This is purely annedoctal and not to be taken as proof of anything, but all experiences I had with Microsoft devices would agree with Consumer Reports' standpoint and this piece.

    Full disclosure: I'm a long time Windows user, I'm still on a Windows 10 machine, and most people I know uses Windows too. My gripes with Windows 10 lead me to install Ubuntu on secondary machines, keep learning more about them as I go, and keep a Windows 7 copy out there just in case Microsoft doesn't stop with the bullshit and I can't adapt to a purely Linux enviroment.

    I did have a brush though with Microsoft fanatics. My first smartphone was a Lumia 1020, and while I was on it, I had to go to sources for stuff like app recommendations, communities for support and discussions and whatnot that were basically run by Microsoft fanatics... because no one else would. :P All of the major tech publications had little to nothing on Windows Phones.

    It was a fine phone. Well built, great camera for the time, and the OS was plenty secure (Windows Mobile 7). Battery was shit, but I had no basis for comparison back then, so I just got used to it. But as most people know, apps were shit, dev support didn't exist, and even the brands that decided to put an app on the platform quickly abandoned it, left it in a state of disrepair, and/or were missing features, several versions behind Android or iOS. Most of the Windows Store is still like that to this day. I hear that there are still few exceptions, same story as back when I had the Lumia. And if you think discoverability is bad on the App Store or Play Store... Windows Store is saving a treat for ya! I have never seen anything with so much trash and so much stuff no one never heard of or can attest for.

    Still, you have to see the level of indoctrination of people commenting in these communities. It was almost like they were citizens of North Korea or something. Android wasn't even worth discussion because of course, Google, the most vile corporation of the planet was behind it. There are no comparisons to be made around features and apps available on Android because you don't look at the entrails of the Devil. iOS didn't come up much because people were pretty conscious how Microsoft tried to copy several of the worst Apple practices... like turning the mobile OS into a walled garden closed off to dev access and extremely inflexible. Yes, most people don't know about this, but weird as it may sound, Windows Phone had more similarities in the way it was build to iOS than Android. For a good portion of my Lumia ownership apps were completely isolated... they cannot talk to each other, they have little resources to use from the smartphone, all in the name of some crippling security standard.

    There was this mantra that got repeated 'till the time I switched to Android... which was around a couple of years after I bought the Lumia. It's going to get better. Devs are coming. The platform has all the best apps needed. It's great for business. It's not Microsoft's fault, it's app developers fault. blah blah blah. Every Lumia/Windows Phone source you went, the discourse was the same. It puts even extreme Apple fanboys to shame.

    And I have to wonder if this alternate reality Microsoft lives in, with these extreme fanboys going around in circles to show support, isn't why moronic decisions like Windows 10S and Surface Laptop came to be. After so many years of clear evidence that no one likes or wants a Windows Store, it boggles the mind that Microsoft still keeps insisting on it. The failure of Surface RT, the failure of Windows Phones, and how little people actually uses Windows Store in their Windows 8/10 machines wasn't enough. It's... the shit that keeps shitting, I dunno. It's incredible that there are still people inside Microsoft that sustains a fantasy that one day the Windows Store will thrive, that devs will come, that the Surface Laptop will ever be able to replace Chromebooks in some capacity, that Windows 10S is the future and whatnot. I was actuall

    • The problem with MS has always been execution. It's cliche but MS never gets anything right on the first iteration. But when MS only put out software which could be updated and fixed, it's not as big as a problem. The problem with hardware is that you can't fix some things after it is made. No, we're not talking about mice and keyboards which were pretty solid but not complex. We are talking about things like the Xbox 360, the Kin phones, and now the Surface tablets.

      Do they get some things right? Yes, but m

  • This doesn't surprise me at all. A few years ago, I found a pretty obvious bug in part of Internet Explorer that was reliably triggered by some admittedly unusual code we were about to send into production. Microsoft's "support" team did everything possible to get in our way and to direct the investigation away from IE. After virtually every email or meeting, they would try to archive the issue (i.e. lock it in a filing cabinet and throw away the key).

    I told them in the first conference call that it l

  • ... Thurrott.com: Microsoft, I'm told, fabricated the story about Intel being at fault....

    It appears that Microsoft is just as trustworthy as they have been in the past, i.e., not very trustworthy. This is the company that wants me to install Windows 10, apparently for the main purpose of harvesting personal data from my computer. Would you trust Microsoft with your personal data?

  • Any time this has come up, including last week [slashdot.org] on Slashdot but even in the chat rooms for Paul's shows (he's funny even for a non-MS fanboy) that other OEMs didn't seem to experience any issues. I always thought it was poor reporting that no one was questioning Microsoft's line given a half dozen other OEMs had no problems.
  • Microsoft has been writing shitty software and blaming everyone else since its inception. By now it is so ingrained in their culture that they obviously don't bother to consider that their software is the reason the device doesn't work.

  • Yet only Microsoft gets the bad ones, right?

    Why do you hate Microsoft so much, Intel? Why, oh, why?
    [/sarcasm]

You mean you didn't *know* she was off making lots of little phone companies?

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