Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 14th Aug 2017 22:47 UTC
Microsoft

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. Microsoft’s recent ARM push with Windows 10 is a result of that falling out; the software giant believes that Intel needs a counter to its dominance and that, as of late 2016, AMD simply wasn't up to the task.

Since then, however, another trusted source at Microsoft has provided 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.

What a train wreck for Microsoft. Incredible.

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It's not unusual
by jeffrollin on Mon 14th Aug 2017 23:57 UTC
jeffrollin
Member since:
2017-08-14

As anyone who has followed Microsoft for more than five minutes knows, giant f--k-ups at Microsoft are about as unusual as a seven-day week. Also, the irony (and chutzpah) of Microsoft accusing anyone else of a monopoly is no doubt lost on them.

Edited 2017-08-15 00:01 UTC

Reply Score: 10

This is not just Microsofts fault
by Marc_S on Tue 15th Aug 2017 07:29 UTC
Marc_S
Member since:
2017-08-15

[This post provoked my first comment here after reading since ~2003. Thank you OSnews :-)]

Correct me if I'm wrong, but in my opinion this is just 'bad luck' for Microsoft as this all just came up with this consumer report news, where they asked for return rates on tablets, included the Surface line but (obviously) not laptops.

Let me explain:
We've had such a terrible experience at work with our three Dell XPS 15 9550 in late 2015. This is also a Skylake product. This machine cost about the same as my own MacBook Pro 15", got great reviews and so I was very excited to switch from a 5 year old HP laptop as my Windows development machine.
But what a letdown at first.
For every piece of software you installed, you got a bluescreen. No joke.
Honestly, some guys were counting the blue screens with tally sheets while setting the machine up with the different software we need.
We were discussing about returning the laptops, but instead kept them and sat it out with the almost monthly firmware updates and various driver and Windows updates. After countless updates and patience it was then fairly stable.

Who's to blame? I think it's the package of 'too new' and untested products in late 2015. This was all either just released or at least quite new:
- Intel Skylake processors
- Samsung M.2 NVMe SSD
- Thunderbolt 3
- Dual graphics with Intel and Nvidia GPUs

Reply Score: 1

Marc_S Member since:
2017-08-15

Totally out of topic mini review of the Dell XPS 15:
- Great performance (that was the reason to buy in the first place)
- Great 4K screen
- Great keyboard
- Nice look and feel
- Great selection of ports (USB3, USB3C with Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, SD Card reader, audio+micro jack)

However:
- Unusable positioning of the web cam at the bottom of the screen
- Unusable positioning of the microphone (below the touch pad, so others don't hear you)
- Headphones only work on first connection, when unplugged you first have to put the machine in standby to get them working again
- Windows and apps still don't work very well with HiDPI screens
- Battery lasts not very long
- Useless touch screen

Edit:
They forgot to include the TPM chip required for Windows BitLocker. Later revisions of the 9550 got it.
Who makes that?

Edited 2017-08-15 07:42 UTC

Reply Score: 1

ahferroin7 Member since:
2015-10-30

I think the OEM drivers are the major contributing factor here.

I've got a Skylake laptop (officially it's a System76 unit, but those are just rebranded Clevo systems) that I've had since about a month after the architectural release which runs Linux and has had no issue, and dual boots a stock install of Windows 10 Pro that is completely devoid of Dell or HP or custom microsoft drivers and has also had no issues. Similarly, we have some Skylake systems we built in-house where I work that we got not long after CPU's and MB's became commercially available to consumers, and those have not had any issues either..

Conversely, I've never seen an early release Dell, Lenovo, or HP laptop that didn't have issues, and the Acer and ASUS ones I've seen that had no issues despite being new releases have been few and far between.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by The123king
by The123king on Tue 15th Aug 2017 07:52 UTC
The123king
Member since:
2009-05-28

Ever since Windows 8, Microsoft has been a train wreck.

I hate to say it, but bring back Ballmer

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by The123king
by dark2 on Tue 15th Aug 2017 13:17 UTC in reply to "Comment by The123king"
dark2 Member since:
2014-12-30

Nothing will change the fact Windows 8 and beyond are attempts to turn Windows into a cell phone type OS and get a 30% cut of every software purchase through their store. Only real competition can fix this, which won't happen unless Microsoft is split up by court order.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Comment by The123king
by Megol on Tue 15th Aug 2017 14:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by The123king"
Megol Member since:
2011-04-11

Nothing will change the fact Windows 8 and beyond are attempts to turn Windows into a cell phone type OS and get a 30% cut of every software purchase through their store. Only real competition can fix this, which won't happen unless Microsoft is split up by court order.


Opinion without backing by facts. Check.
Claiming something obviously not true. Check - as I and others using Windows can use the system without looking or behaving anything like a "cell phone type OS". MS would lose a lot of customers if they actually tried something like that.

There are viable OS alternatives and there's no reason to split MS into two. Unlike e.g. Intel that actually have had anti-competitive behavior MS have actually behaved well for a long time. Well is of course relative but the days when MS tried to hinder competition by using their position is (generally) over.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by The123king
by dark2 on Tue 15th Aug 2017 19:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by The123king"
dark2 Member since:
2014-12-30

Windows 8's start screen was an undeniable attempt to make Windows like a cell phone and force everyone to get used to buying apps through the store that displayed in "cell phone mode"(metro). If you don't see this, or the new 10 edition that will require extra money to install non store apps; you have to be either blind or paid PR firm trying to take attention away from what everyone knows Microsoft is doing. It is painfully obvious and the proof is the operatong system itself.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by The123king
by Drumhellar on Tue 15th Aug 2017 19:50 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by The123king"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

If you don't see this, or the new 10 edition that will require extra money to install non store apps;


You mean the edition of Windows that is free to OEMs, with the cost to upgrade being on par with what a regular Windows license costs?

You know, the edition that many customers were SPECIFICALLY asking for leading up to its release?

Oh, so horrible of Microsoft to give people exactly what they ask for. I couldn't imagine a more nefarious move.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by The123king
by leech on Tue 15th Aug 2017 20:36 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by The123king"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

Wait, what? People weren't asking for Windows 10 S. Maybe the OEMs were? But normal people certainly were not. I doubt the OEMs were, more likely some were threatening to go Linux 'cause it's free, so MS came up with S that is also free for OEMs, but you're stuck only using things from their app store, what customers would want that? There is a reason why Windows Phone failed...

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Comment by The123king
by avgalen on Tue 15th Aug 2017 21:01 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by The123king"
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

Wait, what? People weren't asking for Windows 10 S. Maybe the OEMs were? But normal people certainly were not. I doubt the OEMs were, more likely some were threatening to go Linux 'cause it's free, so MS came up with S that is also free for OEMs, but you're stuck only using things from their app store, what customers would want that? There is a reason why Windows Phone failed...

Normal people want software to come through the store. 1 central point to search/install/uninstall software and games that comes from a trusted/vetted source, doesn't break other software, doesn't add startup-/taskbar-/notificationarea-items or seperate updaters and just works.
My parents and most of my friends are such normal people and they are much happier with these systems compared to "tucows.com/download.com/random-googled-site-with-adware".
I am not such a person, so for me Home/Pro/Enterprise (and way too many other versions) are still available.
Not everything that comes from the store is a "phone-app", and if I have to install Itunes for someone I always choose the one from the store nowadays. It keeps my supporttime reasonable so I can geek out ;)
Windows Phone didn't fail because all software came through the store. According to that logic iOS and Android should have failed as well

All of that said, Windows S shouldn't exist. There is a switch in Settings->Apps->Apps&features that should be set like this as follows by default:
* Home: Allow apps from the Store only
* Pro: Warn me before installing apps from outside the Store
* Enterprise: Allow apps from anywhere
This would make it possible for everyone to be "secure" by default, but would still make it possible to add drivers that aren't on Windows Update, run a command prompt for troubleshooting and install those 1 or 2 programs that you want but aren't in the Store.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Comment by The123king
by Drumhellar on Tue 15th Aug 2017 22:18 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by The123king"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

ChromeOS is becoming very popular in certain markets (education is a big one), and cost isn't the only thing.

All the things that make ChromeOS popular, Windows S is trying to replicate - management simple enough for a school teacher to administer a classroom of laptops, for example.

Closed ecosystem that prevents people from installing
whatever crap malware they come across (As in, no more installing 20 pieces of garbage along with your free crossword puzzle game) is also a plus.

They also released, at the same time, new management tools geared for schools with small IT departments (or nearly no IT department to speak of) for managing groups of these types of devices.

Schools want this. Hell, students want this - I see a lot of college students with Chromebooks, and Windows S is an attempt to offer the Chromebook experience.

People are buying Chromebooks. They're spending money on them over regular Windows laptops. That means they want them. Windows S is an attempt at providing the Chromebook experience.

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Comment by The123king
by cdude on Thu 17th Aug 2017 12:15 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by The123king"
cdude Member since:
2008-09-21

People are buying Chromebooks. They're spending money on them over regular Windows laptops. That means they want them. Windows S is an attempt at providing the Chromebook experience.


So the logic is:
1. People buy Chromebooks rather then Windows
2. Microsoft takes Windows, removes something and rebrands that same lesser-Windows as more-secure.
3. Profit.

Thats a failing strategy and I am surprised that isn't obviously for everybody.

Edited 2017-08-17 12:21 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by The123king
by jeffrollin on Tue 15th Aug 2017 16:28 UTC in reply to "Comment by The123king"
jeffrollin Member since:
2017-08-14

Ballmer was the beginning of the rot, not the end of the good times. That said, Satya Nadella might be the one to turn things around - hopefully, not before there is some real competition in the OS marketplace.

Oh, and you mistyped "Windows 1".

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by The123king
by cdude on Thu 17th Aug 2017 11:38 UTC in reply to "Comment by The123king"
cdude Member since:
2008-09-21

bring back Ballmer


From the article:


The result was Surface Laptop, an uninspiring product whose origin is years old (Julie Larson-Green was still working at that part of Microsoft at the time), and the new Surface Pro, which is obviously just a minor update.


And from the wikipedia article about Julie Larson-Green:


As part of a Microsoft reorganization in July 2013, Larson-Green was named as the head of the newly formed Devices and Studios Engineering Group. The division oversaw the company's various efforts in hardware, particularly the Xbox One and Surface tablet.

...

In February 2014, it was announced that Larson-Green would move to the role of Chief Experience Officer of Microsoft's "My Life & Work" team, a move interpreted by many as making way for Stephen Elop, joining Microsoft as part of its acquisition of Nokia's devices business, to become head of the devices organization within Microsoft.


Looks for me as Ballmer's buddy Stephan, burning memo, Elop was probably not the best choice to lead the surface thing. I am not that suprised he continued to general fail whole product palettes while blaming others for it. Of course it again only implodes years later and again nobody remembers who was responsible for the fiasco.

Edited 2017-08-17 11:41 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Proof?
by avgalen on Tue 15th Aug 2017 09:11 UTC
avgalen
Member since:
2010-09-23

I followed the article that you linked to from

The real problem was Surface-specific custom drivers and settings that the Microsoft hardware team cooked up.
The only thing that was mentioned in that entire article was how "a trusted source" provided Paul Thurrott with that info and that when Satya Nadella asked Lenovo about Skylake issues Lenovo said no one was having any issues.

Well, Paul is known for having good sources and reliable information, but certainly doesn't have a perfect record. What he should have done is simply researched if SkyLake indeed had either more problems compared to older generations or if it had several serious problems. You can do that by yourself from the public errata. My quick initial search gave me
4th gen: 173
5th gen: 118
6th gen: 151 (this is SkyLake)
7th gen: 102 (caveat: Errata are added/updated over time so older gens are expected to have more Errata. There also seem to be errata specifically for U/Y processors that are used in Surface Pro/Book so maybe I should have looked there as well)
(source:
https://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents/specifi...
https://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents/specifi...
https://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents/specifi...
https://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents/specifi...)

From what I can see here Skylake was indeed more troublesome than older generations and also had several more impactful bugs including ones that got discovered recently: https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2017/06/msg00308.html
https://support.lenovo.com/nl/en/solutions/ht117215

Here I see more proof for "Intel messed up" than for "Microsofts Surface Team messed up"

However, Paul could have also checked the return rate from Dell/HP/Lenovo to see if they were higher during the SkyLake timeframe.
I don't have any such source but when I look inside the company where I work I did see the Surfaces giving higher-than-expected driver-issues, mostly with powermanagement. I also saw these issues getting fixed one by one but if that was based on UEFI/Microcode updates for Intel errata or the alleged "custom drivers and settings that the Microsoft hardware team cooked up" is beyond my level to see.

So I will just refer to the other interesting point of the article:
Surface customers—whatever the reason—are very happy with their purchases. (With the understanding that there is less correlation, I believe, between product reliability and customer satisfaction with premium products.


I also support the conclusion of the article, which is why Surfaces are still on our "can buy" list.
Put simply, Microsoft Surface has had some reliability issues. And Microsoft believes it has turned the corner on those issues.


My own conclusion is that Surfaces are the Macs of the Windows-Worlds: They are expensive, have too few ports that need adapters, but people really like using them and they are well supported

Reply Score: 3

While...
by The Lone OSer on Tue 15th Aug 2017 10:24 UTC
The Lone OSer
Member since:
2005-07-11

I have a Toshiba Tablet with Intel processor from the same era running flawlessly from time of purchase..

Reply Score: 1

RE: While...
by PhilB on Tue 15th Aug 2017 10:28 UTC in reply to "While..."
PhilB Member since:
2007-02-09

Toshiba and flawlessly in the same sentence?
You are one lucky guy. I only ever had one Toshiba laptop and it was the biggest POS the world has ever seen.
I was changing the power brick every 4 months. it was crashing non stop.
Horrible, horrible thing.

Reply Score: 1

Surface is pretty buggy
by leos on Tue 15th Aug 2017 16:24 UTC
leos
Member since:
2005-09-21

Intel or MS's fault, I don't know and don't care, but here's an expedited list of the issues our Surface Pro 4 has (i5):
1. Random bluescreens
2. Random blackscreens (only cursor visible, requires forced reboot)
3. Random bluetooth disconnects requiring restart (this hasn't happened in a couple months so maybe fixed)
4. Windows Hello camera randomly either doesn't turn on at all, or starts freaking out and can't be used to log in.
5. Surface pen stops working randomly (improved recently).
6. Screen sometimes doesn't respond to touch properly.

Overall the buggiest piece of hardware I've owned. It has gotten better with updates though so I have hope. Won't be buying another one though. Next time it's iPad + Laptop again to avoid the compromises.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Surface is pretty buggy
by avgalen on Tue 15th Aug 2017 21:16 UTC in reply to "Surface is pretty buggy"
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

7. Hot bag syndrome, when your machine decides to turn on inside your bag/sleeve and doesn't standby anymore. Sometimes caused by bumping the power button, but mostly by poltergeist.

All these issues have disappeared 1 by 1 on all our Surface Pro 3 and 4 (no 5 yet) with firmware updates. I have 1 user left that isn't on the latest firmware and 1703 version and he still has BlueTooth disconnects (mouse) and blackscreens sometimes after lunch that can only be fixed by a reboot.
Almost all of the issue seem to have been related to powermanagement, but I don't believe that Microsoft was overly aggressive with their settings resulting in these issues because batterylife has also improved slighty with time.
Too many issues, but all got resolved and users wanted to stick with the devices which is not the case with other problematic hardware/software

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Surface is pretty buggy
by dark2 on Wed 16th Aug 2017 04:04 UTC in reply to "RE: Surface is pretty buggy"
dark2 Member since:
2014-12-30

I'm pretty sure hot bag syndrome is caused by Windows waking up at 11PM everyday and forcefully checking for updates.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Surface is pretty buggy
by TemporalBeing on Wed 16th Aug 2017 20:30 UTC in reply to "Surface is pretty buggy"
TemporalBeing Member since:
2007-08-22

that's just how Windows works

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Drumhellar
by Drumhellar on Tue 15th Aug 2017 19:45 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

Since the CR comparisons are against other tablets, I wonder how much of returns are due to people blindly installing software, as is often the case with Windows, since that isn't at all convenient with Android, or even possible with iOS.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Drumhellar
by avgalen on Tue 15th Aug 2017 21:30 UTC in reply to "Comment by Drumhellar"
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

Since the CR comparisons are against other tablets, I wonder how much of returns are due to people blindly installing software, as is often the case with Windows, since that isn't at all convenient with Android, or even possible with iOS.

“Due to its comparatively higher breakage rate, Microsoft laptops cannot be recommended by Consumer Reports at this time,” the publication notes.
https://www.thurrott.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/chart.jpg
They are not compared against other tablets but against laptops. Consumer Reports is also not talking about returns but about "estimated breakage rate by the end of the 2nd year of ownership"

Reply Score: 2