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Here’s What Microsoft is Saying Internally About Surface Quality and Reliability

Thurrott.com has seen an internal Microsoft memo that indicates that the software giant is readying a broader campaign to undercut this past week’s news from Consumer Reports. It also provides greater insight into why Microsoft believes the Consumer Reports recommendations are incorrect.

“It’s important for us to always learn more from our customers and how they view their ownership journey with our products,” the memo, from Microsoft corporate vice president Panos Panay reads. “Feedback like this [from Consumer Reports] stings, but pushes us to obsess more about our customers.”

Panay says that Microsoft will continue to “engage” with Consumer Reports and try to both learn from their survey and testing to improve things for customers and “reverse their findings.”

There are a number of interesting aspects to this memo. The first is a mention of “some quality issues” that the firm experienced with “the launch of Surface Book and Surface Pro 4.” I summarized these problems and Microsoft’s painfully slow response in my early 2016 article Welcome to Surfacegate. But it may be useful for everyone to understand how and why this happened.

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…

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