Microsoft Surface devices
fail on reliability: Consumer Reports
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[August 10, 2017]
By Salvador Rodriguez
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The breakage rate
for Microsoft Corp’s Surface devices is significantly worse than
for other manufacturers' laptops and tablets, Consumer Reports said,
adding that it was removing its "recommended" designation for Surface
The non-profit publication surveyed 90,000 tablet and laptop owners and
found that an estimated 25 percent of those with Microsoft Surface
devices would be presented with “problems by the end of the second year
of ownership,” according to a study published on Thursday.
“If you are very concerned about how long your products are going to
last, it might be better for you to go with a brand that has a higher
predicted reliability,” Jerry Beilinson, electronics editor at the
consumer goods testing publication, said in an interview.
Microsoft disputed the study, saying the company’s return and support
rates differ significantly from the Consumer Reports study.
“We don’t believe these findings accurately reflect Surface owners’ true
experiences or capture the performance and reliability improvements made
with every Surface generation,” the company said in a statement.
According to the Consumer Reports survey responses, the Microsoft
devices were found to freeze, unexpectedly shut down or have issues with
their touchscreens, Beilinson said.
Altogether, the reliability issues made Microsoft a statistical outlier
compared with other brands. Apple Inc had the most reliable devices,
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A Microsoft retail store
is shown at a shopping mall in San Diego, California, U.S., April
28, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo
Microsoft entered the hardware market with its first Surface tablet in 2012.
Since then, the company has released a series of new Surface tablets and
laptops, including the well-reviewed Surface Pro, which launched in May.
The Surface devices serve as a face for the company and exemplify how
Microsoft’s manufacturing partners can build hardware around the Windows 10
operating system. However, Surface is a small part of Microsoft’s overall
revenue, and Surface revenue has declined year-over-year for the past two
“The reality is that Microsoft has very little experience in some of the newer
categories it’s entering very rapidly, which may expose it to more risk of
problems in manufacturing,” said Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research.
Consumer Reports has conducted its annual reliability study since 1952, starting
with cars. The study is also used to determine the reliability of products like
refrigerators, lawn mowers, televisions and more. In more recent years, the
organization has added laptops and tablets.
(Reporting by Salvador Rodriguez; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Andrew Hay)
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