back to article Got a new Surface? Have some firmware. Old Surface? La la la la la, we can't hear you

As Microsoft released the first batch of firmware updates for its shiny new Surface Pro 6 and Surface Laptop 2 hardware, owners of Surface Pro 4 fondleslabs afflicted by July's borked update remain in the dark as to when, or even if, their broken firmware will ever be fixed. In with the new Those with a Surface Pro 6 brave …

  1. Dwarf Silver badge

    Customers have long memories.

    Treat them poorly and find out the hard way that they are now ex-customers.

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Not sure about that

      The countless issues Apple/Microsoft Users have had that I know (Several Antennagate users and non pro Surface 3's) of and they still buy from the same brand over and over again.

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Not sure about that

        There will always be fanatically loyal customers of even the most horrible company. But most customers are not brand loyal. Piss them off for whatever reason enough and they will find someone else to lavish their money on. Most have a form of brand loyalty because they have found something to work well for them and thus continue to use it as long as it continues to work well for them. With computers this is complicated by the ecosystem that grow up around each OS. It is the ecosystem that makes migration difficult for most users. But if Slurp continues to butcher Bloat10 they destroy the value of the ecosystem if no one can reliably use it.

        1. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: Not sure about that

          > But most customers are not brand loyal

          My personal experience begs to differ. If Tim Cook announced each iPhone would arrive embedded in 5lbs of shit, people would line up in droves.

          I've got about 40 or 50 acquaintances that constantly bitch about either Apple or Microsoft and sometimes both. In 10 years, I've seen one two convert to Android and none to Linux.

          1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

            Re: Not sure about that

            My observation is based on working in retail. People buy the same brand because they have had their expectations met by it even if it is the house brand. Their 'loyalty' is to a brand that consistently meets their needs. If it stops, they will try others until they settle on another brand. Usually if someone has been burned by a bad product they avoid the brand altogether.

            With computers, migrating to another OS is tricky because of the OS ecosystem. Without knowing the specifics of someone's situation it is hard to say if one can easily migrate or is basically stuck. I could migrate back and forth between Android and iOS because I do not much invested in apps on my phone. For may computer OS, I have more invested in software but switching would still be relatively easy as all my proprietary applications either have an equivalent or are already available on other OSes. But I recognize this is not always the case for someone.

            I have helped people switch from Windows to Macs or Linux. But the key issue was what software did they have that was Windows only and were there any reasonable options for them so they could continue to use it.

          2. billdehaan

            Re: Not sure about that

            I've seen a few, but half as many have switched back.

            Back in the late 1990s, a female friend was a graphic design, doing Pagemaker and Photoshop type things I don't pretend to understand, in a Microsoft shop. Most user machines ran either Windows 98 or Windows NT 3.5 for server type functions (backup, firewall, etc).

            Her contempt for Windows bordered on the incandescent. She referred to everything as "billware", "Micro$hit", "Internet Exploder", and the like. If only she would be allowed to have a Mac, life would be good.

            And then she got one. With her own money. This was back in the days of Mac OS 7. The first shock was the cost. She knew it would be more than a Windows PC, but was shocked when the final cost turned out to be almost three times that of the PC. Unlike MacIntosh, PCs had competition, and that drove the price down. It drove quality down too, if you weren't careful, but you had options.

            The second shock was learning that the "megahertz myth" really wasn't. Yes, Steve Jobs had shown a Mac outperforming a PC in a demo, but it was later determined that the PC was basically stripped down, and running an obsolete version. In real world terms, the three times more expensive Mac was roughly half the speed of the PC. And worse, things that were taken for granted in the Windows world, like virtual memory and pre-emptive multitasking, were features that were "coming soon" on the Mac.

            Also, the vaunted stability wasn't there. She had more CPU hangs, operating system tossups, and data loss in two months with the Mac than in the past two years on the PC.

            But the real offense, to her, was her interactions with the Mac-loving co-workers who had sold her on this. Every complaint she raised was dismissed as "that's just how it is", and they were annoyed that she was complaining. When she asked how they could possibly have told her that this buggy, expensive, data-losing system was superior to what she had, their only answer was "it's not Windows". At which point, they proceeded to list problems with Windows that my friend had never experienced in all the years she'd been using it.

            A year later, she bought a newer PC, and got her productivity back. But she wasn't complaining about "billware" anymore. Suddenly, the promised land of milk and honey didn't seem so appealing any more.

            The problem is that later, when Mac did become a more serious system, and actually delivered on the promises that had been made earlier, she wouldn't hear of it. "Fool me once", and all that.

            I think a lot of people have brand loyalty, and some have brand fanaticism. But a lot more have a completely loathing of a system, and prefer a competitor's system, based solely on what they think it has.

            Android and IOS each have their merits over the other. So too to MacOS, Windows, and Linux. Using one, and preferring one, doesn't mean that the others are utter garbage, or that users of those systems are reprehensible losers. It just means that they have different priorities than you may.

            1. Danny 14 Silver badge

              Re: Not sure about that

              thats odd, in the early 90s we had a PC suite of top of the line 486 sx33s, they had a nice winchester server and life playing worm was good. We also had a suite of mac plus with an se30 pizzabox server. Aldus suite outperformed everything the PCs could do. The smaller mac screens were mono but better quality. even though upgrading the mac ram by 512kb meant snipping resistors off the board they were still easier to manage.

              That was the last mac network i managed.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: Not sure about that

                "thats odd, in the early 90s we had a PC suite of top of the line 486 sx33s"

                Top of the line would have been a DX, not an SX (no maths co-pro on the SX) and the 50MHz model was released in 1991, the 33MHz version being a year earlier in 1990.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "the problem was broken hardware and so not its fault"

    <cough><splutter>WHAT ?

    This is your hardware, Microsoft. How can you possibly imagine that that excuse will fly ?

    Or, more to the point, that a judge will accept that ?

    1. 0laf Silver badge

      Re: "the problem was broken hardware and so not its fault"

      I think that's the thing that really sticks in people throats. If you can't make your software work on your own hardware then it reall does appear that you don't give a shit about what you put out.

      Apple isn't immune from this but they don't do it with the monotonous regularity MS does. It is starting to appear that the Apple Tax is in fact a QA charge.

      If you're going to pay less for shonky hardware and support you might as well pay a lot less and get some Chinese no name tablet. It'll do 90% of the functions for 30% of the cost of MS' premium Surface so when it breaks in the same way you'll at least have the comfort of some extra cash in your pocket to go with the same level of inconvienience.

      1. billdehaan

        Re: "the problem was broken hardware and so not its fault"

        Yes, I had the same reaction back with OS/2 running on a PS/2 back in the 1990s.

        IBM said flat out that the problem wasn't the IBM OS/2 software, but that I should talk with the vendor of the garbage PC, a PS/2 model 80, that was produced by, uh, IBM.

        Oh, but that's the "IBM Personal Computer Company", a totally different beast, I was told. Uh huh.

        Of course, the IBM PCC in turn then strongly recommended against using "that operating system", and were willing to send me a copy of Windows 95, gratis, to solve my problem.

        It looks like once a companies reach a certain size, they all start to act the same way. Back in the 1980s, Microsoft was the scrappy upstart taking on the evil IBM. And then after Apple stumbled and had a near-death experience in the 1990s, it was the scrappy one, fighting the monstrous Microsoft. And then it was virtuous Google (motto: "Don't be evil"). The wheel keeps turning.

        There's really something to be said for non-monolithic systems. Maybe I don't want my watch reporting to my cell phone, or my phone taking orders from the tablet, or the tablet being driven by the PC, and the PC beholden to the cloud.

        Having competing techs at different levels may mean learning more about each system, and having less integration, but it also means not having to deal with a common fault incapacitating all my systems at the same time.

  3. King Jack

    New Breed

    There is a new breed of customer. The customer that feels it is their duty to make excuses for being screwed. Look out for the gem that is; This is fine because company X does similar or worse... This is what Windows 10 and this shit is aimed at.

  4. Jay Lenovo Silver badge

    Surface Tension

    My NFL Football team has lost the last couple of weeks.

    Could it be because the other teams knew better, than to allow updates on their sideline Surface Tablets?

    Bill Belichick doesn't use the things, yet his team has gone on a winning streak ...hmm

  5. taxman

    HP Sauce

    Well my HP Touchpad is still working fine.

    But I wonder how many UK Gov workers are having problems seeing as some Depts switched over to SP3s and 4s a couple of years ago.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: HP Sauce

      Not to worry, they're currently working on Brexit so basically doing nothing anyway.

  6. Nezumi

    I was in the market for a new Surface. Not now...

    I had a 2nd hand Surface 3 Pro that I liked using until it died. I've been looking to replace it as I really like the form factor, however the lack of connectivity and the constant issues with Surface 4 and higher are really putting me off.

    That and the fact that they are so expensive for not very much in the grand scheme of things...

    Currently considering a suitable laptop form-factor with a decent pen. Guess who won't be making it...

    1. Duffy Moon

      Re: I was in the market for a new Surface. Not now...

      Still using an SP3 here. No problems with the new update as far as I can tell.

      I did assume that, as it was a Microsoft device that it would be safe to install updates. I'll probably be a bit more cautious in the future.

  7. Howard Hanek Bronze badge

    Graveside Services?

    Microsoft really should advertise the death announcements of their products in newspapers of record. Hire an experienced funeral director he'll do the announcments, funerals and internments professionally and with the proper respect for the bereaved.

  8. SVV Silver badge

    Go buy a Surface...

    End up with a Sourface.

    Sounds like many who were formerly on the Surface now find themselves residing in Davy Jones Locker.

  9. DerekCurrie Bronze badge

    Microsoft Hardware?

    Oops. Wrong vender. Look elsewhere.

  10. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

    Maximum punishment

    Maximum punishment (e.g. anguish) is focused on the most loyal early-adopter fan-boys who queue up to pay the highest possible price for the least mature designs.

    In other words, the Universe is unfolding precisely as it should.

  11. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Not surprised. M$ doing what they do best.

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