Microsoft initially blamed Intel for the reliability issues found in its Microsoft Surface devices, but the real problem could very well be within the company itself.
The reliability issues of certain Microsoft Surface devices were brought to light over the weekend as Consumer Reports withdrew its recommendation for the Surface Book and Surface Laptop due to "poor predicted reliability."
Consumer Reports Withdraws Surface Device Recommendation
Consumer Reports recently pulled out its recommendation for the 128 GB and 512 GB Surface Book and the 128 GB and 256 GB Surface Laptop. The action comes as new studies that it carried out revealed that 25 percent of the owners of these tablets and laptops experience issues with the devices within two years from buying them.
Microsoft denied Consumer Reports' findings of poor reliability for the Surface devices, as the company claimed that the results are not a good representation of the real-world performance of the Surface Book and Surface Laptop. In addition, CNET said that owners of the Surface devices should not panic, as it pointed out some flaws in the study carried out by Consumer Reports.
Is Intel The Cause For Surface Reliability Issues Or Microsoft Itself?
According to Paul Thurrott, a veteran Microsoft watcher, Microsoft blamed Intel and its Skylake processors for the initial problems that plagued the Surface Book as well as the Surface Pro 4. Microsoft stated internally and told Intel that the Skylake chips were filled with bugs, causing problems in the reliability, performance, and battery life of the Surface devices.
Microsoft even asked Lenovo for help on designing around the reliability issues of Skylake, which confused Lenovo engineers, as they were not having such problems.
Thurrott's sources, meanwhile, place the blame for the issues on Microsoft itself, particularly on the custom drivers that the company created for its Surface devices. The drivers are said to be causing the problems that Surface users have experienced.
Microsoft released 11 firmware and driver updates for the Surface Book over its first six months since it was launched and another dozen updates since then. Microsoft has also been very silent in its support forums on complaints made by Surface users, with most cases not getting an acknowledgement nor a fix.
The company's problems with its drivers is also said to be the cause of delays in Microsoft's more ambitious devices and also why USB-C and Thunderbolt ports have not yet been adopted in its Surface devices.
The Consumer Reports withdrawal of its recommendation for Surface devices might be based on disputed data, but it has apparently placed the spotlight on Microsoft and its internal problems. A significant percentage of customer listen to Consumer Reports' recommendations, which is why Apple fought for one for the 2016 MacBook Pro, so Microsoft should take this issue seriously to regain momentum for its Surface devices.