Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft Businesses Hardware

Fewer Than 1 in 100,000 New Surface Devices Go Wrong, Microsoft Says (zdnet.com) 119

A reader shares a ZDNet report: Microsoft has shaken off claims that its Surface range is unreliable and said that fewer than 1 in 100,000 of new Surface devices have gone wrong. The ratings service Consumer Reports raised a question mark over the reliability of the Surface line as a whole earlier this year. At the time, Consumer Reports surveyed 90,000 subscribers and found that 25 percent of Microsoft laptops and tablets will give owners problems by the end of the second year of ownership. Ryan Gavin, Microsoft's general manager for Surface, challenged the finding and said that the Surface devices are getting more reliable with each new generation. "One of the things you're seeing is the reliability of our products over time, with every generation getting better and better and better." Reliability issues among newer devices, such as the Surface Laptop and Studio, had been reported for only a fraction of devices, he said. "We're talking about incidents per device of less than 0.001%."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Fewer Than 1 in 100,000 New Surface Devices Go Wrong, Microsoft Says

Comments Filter:
  • If I am that 1 I will be 100,000 times louder than the 99,000 others.
    • by itsme1234 ( 199680 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2017 @12:32PM (#55470421)

      You've got to, in order to compensate for the lack of basic math skills.

  • "Go Wrong" sounds a lot more like it makes bad lifestyle choices than having manufacturing defects.

    Is there an issue with gangs of disenfranchised teenage Surface products I need to be aware of?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'd like to know what their criteria for consideration is.

  • Bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

    by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2017 @12:27PM (#55470377)
    Surface devices have had a lot of widespread reported problems like hot bag, wifi, etc.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I have a Surface Pro 1 (10.1"), and a Surface Pro 3 (12").

      I love them both, but prefer the Surface Pro 1 since it is smaller and easier to hold and it seems to have been designed for RIGHT-HANDED people instead of the Pro 3 which was designed for LEFT-HANDED people.

      On Pro 1, the Microsoft "button" is at the bottom of the screen where I don't touch it by accident, but the Pro 3 has that button on the right side where I touch it by accident all the fucking time. On Pro 1, the power button is on the top right,

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Probably has something to do with the fact that sleep doesn't work correctly. I can count on my SP3 being dead every time I touch it even if it's only gone a week without being used.

    • I have a Surface Pro 3 and a Surface Book. I've really enjoyed them, but I have definitely experienced "hot bag" several times (never seen that term before) with my Surface Book. Didn't know that others shared that problem.
    • Surface devices have had a lot of widespread reported problems like hot bag, wifi, etc.

      Yeah but critically a metric fuckton of them are just shoddy windows bugs and nothing to do with failing hardware.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      If they'd said "fewer than 1 in 10 experience problems" I'd be somewhat skeptical. If they'd claimed "fewer than 1 in 100" I'd be *very* skeptical.

      But I have no doubts whatsoever about a claim of fewer than 1 in 100,0000 devices failing. It's bogus.

      The only question about a figure like that is whether it was produced by outright fabrication or by some process deliberately designed to discard unflattering data. Nothing that complex achieves anything like that level of perfection.

  • Cool (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Headw1nd ( 829599 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2017 @12:30PM (#55470401)
    Can we trade our old broken Surfaces for these new, reliable ones? Because if not I would call this a case of too little, too late.
    • by ReneR ( 1057034 )
      Yep, can confirm the n-trig touchscreens are prone to phantom touches and dead zones up to a point were even the calibration does not help it anymore: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
  • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2017 @12:46PM (#55470503)

    Consumer Reports bases their numbers on surveys of Surface owners. Criteria from MS seems less reliable as feedback from telemetry and customers which is different.

    What we hear from our customers, however, and from the telemetry data that our customers want to share with us, is that Surface devices have never been more reliable and with every generation we release they get increasingly so," he added.

    Consumer Reports goes out of their way to contact owners and get feedback from them it seems. Yes, some don't respond. MS relies on customers contacting them to complain which isn't always the case. Also telemetry data relies on customers wanting to allow access to the data and that the data shows problems. For example if a device's wifi goes out, how will it report it has a problem with wifi?

    • by ttsai ( 135075 )

      Consumer Reports bases their numbers on surveys of Surface owners. Criteria from MS seems less reliable as feedback from telemetry and customers which is different.

      I'm not saying that the Consumer Reports data is not trustworthy, but it's important to ascertain how the survey information is obtained. All surveys are statistical samples, and the sampling methodology necessarily biases the results. Just how much the sampled data differs from the actual target population is a necessary question.

      There are two main ways in which the Consumer Reports data may depart from the actual population of all Surface owners/users: Only magazine subscribers are in the potentially sampled, and only subscribers who opt-in to respond are sampled. It's possible that these and other biases still allow relative comparisons of various Consumer Reports data, but that shouldn't necessarily be assumed as true.

      I think that Consumer Reports could bolster confidence in their results with greater transparency in metrics that describe their sampling, e.g., the number of respondents for a particular result.

      Similarly, the Microsoft returns data also needs to be scrutinized for sampling bias.

    • MS relies on customers contacting them to complain which isn't always the case.

      So customers are retarded? For all the problems I've had with the Surface (1 surface failure, 1 keyboard failure, 2 pen failures spread across ownship of 2 different models of SurfacePro) one consistent thing is that MS have been ultra forthcoming with RMAs and turnaround times about as fast as DHL can get the device to them.

      • So customers are retarded? For all the problems I've had with the Surface (1 surface failure, 1 keyboard failure, 2 pen failures spread across ownship of 2 different models of SurfacePro) one consistent thing is that MS have been ultra forthcoming with RMAs and turnaround times about as fast as DHL can get the device to them.

        That's if your Surface failed while it was under warranty. Consumer Reports survey was for the first 2 years regardless if the device was still under warranty or not. Standard US warranty is only 1 year for the Surface without an extended warranty.

        • You'd be mad not to contact the manufacturer for a defect regardless, if for no other reason than to see if something is cheaply repairable.

          • I think you are assuming everyone is you. Do you know how many average I know report their tech issues directly to the manufacturer? Very few. If they are corporate users, it gets reported to IT staff who may or may not pass it along to the manufacturer. If it is a corporate account, it gets passed to the vendor who then may or may not report to the manufacturer. If it's a consumer, the issue is reported to the closest person who is their "IT" staff. A spouse, a teenager, a neighbor, etc. especially if it's
            • I'm not assuming anything other than people who don't attempt to seek out a repair for a super expensive device from the manufacture are mad. That goes double for IT companies who likely have service contracts, vendors who most definitely will send it back in an attempt to recovery costs through refurbs, and triple for MS who is both vendor and manufacturer and has a high portion of direct sales for bulk purchases. And if you're talking to a spouse a teenager or a neighbour who doesn't recommend seeking out

              • I'm not assuming anything other than people who don't attempt to seek out a repair for a super expensive device from the manufacture are mad

                Again you are assuming. What you are assuming is that a person doesn't seek repair when a device breaks. What I'm saying is that MS might not get the direct complaint which is completely different. After all if MS is basing their reliability on what is reported to them directly. Many cases that is never the case.

                That goes double for IT companies who likely have service contracts, vendors who most definitely will send it back in an attempt to recovery costs through refurbs, and triple for MS who is both vendor and manufacturer and has a high portion of direct sales for bulk purchases.

                Again how many times will MS get the complaint is the issue. And when the device has passed through multiple hands, the real reason it was sent back is muddled. For obvious hardware/software failure

                • Again you are assuming.

                  Yeah that's kind of what I wrote.

                  Again how many times will MS get the complaint is the issue.

                  Yeah that's kind of what I wrote.

                  Again you are making multiple assumptions: 1) every device is still under warranty 2) that every vendor is available 24/7 for tech support (they are not) and 3) every person has unlimited time/opportunity/willingness to go the vendor.

                  No actually I'm not making a single one of those assumptions.

                  Please if you're going to "counter" my argument it helps if you at the very least read the text you're quoting at me if not the whole post.

                  • Please read my original point again as you've repeatedly missed my point: "MS relies on customers contacting them to complain which isn't always the case." That's why their analysis is flawed. Consumer Reports relies on the user reporting all problems regardless if the device was repaired or not over a 2 year ownership. Instead you went down a rabbithole of how people are "mad" not to repair devices. That was never the point. Your assumptions are that problems with a device ALWAYS gets reported accurately t
    • Also telemetry data relies on customers wanting to allow access to the data and that the data shows problems.

      Telemetry is on by default, and it will send some information even at the lowest settings with Home/Professional editions (which are what ship on Surface devices). Telemetry can be disabled completely on Enterprise only.

      For example if a device's wifi goes out, how will it report it has a problem with wifi?

      Realistically, the telemetry should only have persistent problems reporting severe failures related to network, power, and storage. In all of those cases, it is reasonable to assume the user will report.

      Now, I absolutely believe MS is cherry-picking statistics. At the same time, I'm fairly s

      • Realistically, the telemetry should only have persistent problems reporting severe failures related to network, power, and storage. In all of those cases, it is reasonable to assume the user will report.

        And why would the user report that to MS? Some corporate users might report it to their IT staff which then might be report to MS. Consumers might not. Many times a consumer might report the issue to their spouse/teenager who is their "IT" staff.

        Now, I absolutely believe MS is cherry-picking statistics. At the same time, I'm fairly sure they have solid data and a very good idea of how widespread the problems are.

        My contention is that telemetry data can only show some problems. Namely if the hardware/software fault can be logged and recorded. For example if the touchscreen starts failing, it may not register a touch properly. That isn't recorded by telemetry. If there is a n

  • by OneHundredAndTen ( 1523865 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2017 @12:48PM (#55470523)
    It matters not what MS says, for they are a very interested party. I.e. anything they say in this respect must be taken with a very healthy dose of skepticism. What does the independent evidence say?
    • Independent research done by both Smallcomfortable Independant Research Labs and I can't believe it's not Microsoft! Labs concur with Microsoft's results.

    • <quote>It matters not what MS says, for they are a very interested party. I.e. anything they say in this respect must be taken with a very healthy dose of skepticism. What does the independent evidence say?</quote>

      Independent source says that you should purchase the next generation of the product and compare to your current one apples to apples. You'll find that things get better over time, and you should keep purchasing their product to watch it get better.

      I'm sorry, I had to. I was paid to s
    • In general I get the sense from my work that the devices are reliable. They've only had 1 failure in the 15000 deployed.

      Personally I've owned 2 Surface Pros and sent one of them back, and replaced the keyboard and pen on the other (all warranty claims, all which were handled quickly and with ease). So my own experience doesn't match that of the bulk orders that are going through my work.

      I've seen a few stories which spit out about numbers as random as the software used to calculate the digits of PI. If you

  • by danlor ( 309557 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2017 @12:49PM (#55470537) Homepage

    Every single one of our surface systems have issues. Most of the problems orbit around really crappy drivers from microsoft related to power management and switching between tablet/laptop modes. The remaining seem to be caused by crappy patches for windows 10 that need to go through more debugging before release. Surfaces are not reliable, and most of our users are looking to get rid of the ones we have deployed.

    The one good area is hardware reliability. The hardware itself seems to be rock solid. It's their legendary programmers that are letting the team down. For the price, it's quite disappointing.

    • by MrLogic17 ( 233498 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2017 @01:10PM (#55470761) Journal

      Ditto. Of the 4 I saw deployed first hand, 3 had issues around docking & power management. Waking from suspend was always a gamble. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. Docking would sometimes blank out all screens, with unknown causes and inconsistent ways to get it back alive again. Sometimes at random it would run very, very hot and drain the battery quickly - and killing processes didn't help. Had to reboot to settle it down.

      Company-wide, Surface devices were so problematic that we've switched back to normal laptops. Too many support calls and returns. Updating the firmware (which seemed to be updated monthly for a while there) was a routine process in the futile hopes of fixing issues.

      I call BS on the "1 in 100,000" number. I wouldn't believe a number of "1 in 100", based on our company's experience.

      • I don't doubt the 1 in 100000 number. I am willing to bet they are talking exclusively hardware failures there.

    • by ReneR ( 1057034 )
      Yep, can confirm the n-trig touchscreens are prone to phantom touches and dead zones up to a point were even the calibration does not help it anymore: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
    • Every single one of our surface systems have issues. Most of the problems orbit around really crappy drivers from microsoft related to power management and switching between tablet/laptop modes. The remaining seem to be caused by crappy patches for windows 10 that need to go through more debugging before release

      In other words, working as designed, so not a failure in Microsoft's eyes.

    • by dj245 ( 732906 )

      Every single one of our surface systems have issues. Most of the problems orbit around really crappy drivers from microsoft related to power management and switching between tablet/laptop modes. The remaining seem to be caused by crappy patches for windows 10 that need to go through more debugging before release. Surfaces are not reliable, and most of our users are looking to get rid of the ones we have deployed.

      The one good area is hardware reliability. The hardware itself seems to be rock solid. It's their legendary programmers that are letting the team down. For the price, it's quite disappointing.

      That is the case with almost all Microsoft hardware. Even the Zune was a great device physically. It was the awful software needed to load music on it that was the problem. Questionable marketing didn't help either.

    • That explains it; I think most of the market for these are as linux devices.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Out of 7 surfaces in my IT company 2 have had major problems involving warranty replacement. More broadly it seems about 1-2% of Surfaces have defects that manifest within the first year which is about par with Dell Latitudes and Apple's laptop lineup (seriously though don't by a Mac today the last good model was the 2012 non-retina Mac Book Pro). Sure that's a bit lower than Lenovo Edges and Dell Inspirons but it is higher than say the Gigabyte Brixes (not exactly apples to apples, I know) we have deployed

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2017 @12:50PM (#55470549) Journal
    MS would take a brand new factory image with no other apps installed and run its battery of QA tests. Fix reported bugs. Lather, rinse and repeat.

    As long as you use it that way, no other apps, factory image, perfect network connections, it would work well.

    But the one you buy is preloaded up to the brink with nagware, malware, adware and "exciting apps" from the vendors, and all sort of crapware. Their main purpose is to degrade the user experience so bad they would buy the damned App.

    Every damned app wants to phone home and look for updates all at the same time all at boot time. Unless MS picks of tablets that were in use for six months to one year, find defects and fixes them, it is not going to go anywhere. MS execs will show fantastic reliability metrics. Users will still see crap.

    • To be clear are you suggesting that unreliability of hardware should include the festering cesspool of software that users introduce in their machines? Sure MS has made it easy with an absolute horrid record of drivers, firmware and patches on their Surface devices. But to me the reliability of a device is almost exclusively determined by what issues I would need to RMA it for, and software bugs doesn't fit that description.

      • The crapware installed by OEM resellers are the biggest culprit.
        • The crapware installed by OEM resellers are the biggest culprit.

          I see you've never owned a Surface product. I say that not because of the lack of crapware, but because of the poor quality of MS drivers. Eventually the bugs were sorted out, but I've had everything from wake from sleep problems, wifi problems, banding on the graphics card, CPU not sleeping due to interrupts decimating battery life, etc.

          On multiple occasions the fix was to force the vendor driver to install, i.e. force Intel's graphics driver to install over the MS provided one. For obvious reasons those f

  • the penalty for lying & spinning is smaller than the financial rewards.

  • Think they mean 1 in 100,000 DOESN'T have a problem.

  • ... getting better and better and better. ...

    Sure... because if you say it three times, people will be three times as likely to believe you!

    Right? ...

    Right? ...

    Bueller?

  • not my experience! (Score:5, Informative)

    by citylivin ( 1250770 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2017 @01:46PM (#55471057)

    thats pretty bullshit. We had 8 or so pro 3s and half had video card problems or wireless problems and had to be straight up exchanged. all in the first year of owning them,

    When we purchased 2 pro 4's, they were apparently a "bad batch" and microsoft took them back a week later.

    My current pro 3 on my desk right now has a USB overload problem where it is constantly saying that the usb device is drawing more power than the tablet can supply. of course there is nothing plugged into the usb port and the pins are fine. This is like a 2-3 year old tablet that was already RMA'ed once...

    So bullshit microsoft. In my opinion, surface tablets are awesome when they work, and irreplaceable in peoples workflows now, but horribly unreliable hardware wise. And that is not even touching the ridiculous firmware update process where drivers and firmware update together, nor the many issues caused by windows 10 itself.

    a $2000-$3000 tablet should not have any issues period! They seem to be mostly heat related which is probably down to bad design or fabrication. I would only recommend them if 1) someone else is paying for it (and the "any problem" = $600 repair fees that go with it) or 2) you dont plan on having it more than the warranty period.

    They are awesome, invaluable, but reliability is NOT a strong point... And someone every few months, drops one and cracks the screen. Not really microsofts fault, but as i said they charge a flat rate $600 for any out of warranty repair claim. And obviously its like a phone, you cant service it yourself, so you got no choice but to send it to MS or buy a whole new one.

    Oh and the "optional" keyboard and cover (that doesnt ship with your $3000 device) costs $170. Absolutely required to do any real work with it, or you know, protect the extremely fragile screen.

  • You'd better hope nothing goes wrong. According to iFixit the Surface [ifixit.com] is glued shut and is very difficult to repair.
  • by poofmeisterp ( 650750 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2017 @03:02PM (#55471573) Journal
    Translated version for the quick readers:

    "Microsoft Spokesperson admitted that there are a small number of devices that have problems, but they get better with every generation. Thus, if you have a problem with your device, you should purchase the next generation of it and be happier than you were before."
    • Translated version for the quick readers:

      "Microsoft Spokesperson admitted that there are a small number of devices that have problems, but they get better with every generation. Thus, if you have a problem with your device, you should purchase the next generation of it and they will be happier than you were before."

      FTFY

  • Given Microsoft's track record in honesty, I will take CR's word over Microsoft's any day.

  • To improve the survival rates of bombers during WW II the air force studied the bombers returning from missions, counted where they are being hit, and came up with a plan to strengthen the planes there. Microsoft is like those engineers.

    It took an exceptional mathematician to tell them, "those are the areas that can take damage and still be airworthy. The planes that never came back were hit in places where these planes were not hit".

    Consumer report is dredging up the wrecks and then count where they wer

  • They've had some pretty crappy quality control: We've had a couple of Surface 3 Pro's, each with the same stupidly annoying bug new out of the box: Use the Surface keyboard cover touchpad to move the cursor *at all*, and windows immediately locked itself (goes to the lock screen, requiring a ctrl-alt-delete to get back in).

    Move the cursor again, and it locks again, rendering it completely unusable

    Even after updating everything there was to update, the problem persisted. Same keyboard covers worked OK on
  • because only 1 in 100,000 devices is returned to Microsoft. Most people just chuck it in the bin and go buy an iPad, to try and avoid the appalling customer support for Surface devices.

    https://forums.windowscentral.... [windowscentral.com]
  • Okay, then YOU buy the first 15 versions of the product!

    I prefer a proven product with reliability!
    Apparently, the MS model is to just rush crap to market, and use that revenue to fix it in the following versions.
    Case in point: Windows!

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened. -- Winston Churchill

Working...