Microsoft Hits Back At Consumer Reports In Internal Memo

You go, Panos Panay! Microsoft suffered a fairy big setback last week after a survey from Consumer Reports showed that its Surface devices were less reliable than most other brands.

The company was quick to respond to this criticism.

And now, the VP of devices at Redmond, Panos Panay, has shared some hard data that shows that the return rates for the two devices that were the most affected by issues, the Surface 4 and Surface Book, were far less than the controversial report suggested.

Basically, while the company is standing up to quality issues these devices experienced, it also wants to give clarity to what it has done to rectify the reported problems.

An internal memo written by Panos Panay reveals that his team has worked tirelessly to improve the Surface devices since launch, ensuring that newer devices do not suffer from these reliability issues.

He also pointed to the company’s quality control, saying:

“We take quality seriously, conducting rigorous reliability testing during development to forecast failure and return rates, which are then continually viewed against [real world data] post-launch. We also regularly review other metrics to understand the experience we are providing to our customers and our findings show our products are in a much healthier place than noted by Consumer Reports.”

Basically, Microsoft believes that the term failure used by Consume Reports was too broad, and incorrectly attributed to any issues that occurred with the device — even minor things that could easily be corrected by users.

The memo also includes some new data about the worldwide return rates for Surface devices, which Panay says have consistently decreased over the past 12 months.

As this chart shows, the Surface Book and the Surface Pro 4 used to have some really high 90-day return rates, 17% and 16% respectively, but these had then fallen below the 5% mark for all Surface devices as of April 2017.

Panay tops it off by admitting that Microsoft still needs to be more transparent if it wants to get rid of the perception issues that could soon plague all Surface devices.

To that end, Microsoft will collect comprehensive sets of data that reflect the strength of their quality and consumer sentiment, and will work with partner organizations to share that information broadly.

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