back to article Microsoft yanks Surface 2 DIM SCREEN of DEATH fix in update snafu

A software update supposed to stop Surface slabs overheating has been yanked by Microsoft – because it’s making matters worse. Microsoft is pulling a December 10 firmware update for Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 and won’t re-issue another one for the over-heating issue until after Christmas. Users who’d installed the patch had …


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  1. AMB-York Silver badge


    Is that it? Hardly worth worrying about for just 2000 devices. Come on MS, get your act together.

    1. c:\boot.ini

      Re: 2000?

      There are more than 2000 Microsoft employees in the UK, if even they don't want it ...


    2. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: 2000?

      Somehow I think MS only shipping 2000 devices in this case does class as them getting their act together, or at least some small part of reality dawning on a few people in Redmond.

      Just still not quite in a way to make people actually purchase the things though.

    3. Inventor of the Marmite Laser

      Re: 2000?

      Be cheaper for MS to shell out on 2000 iPads and give them to the punters.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: 2000?

        Sorry, I can't run Lightroom on an iPad...

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: 2000?

          From experience, Lightroom is pretty miserable on a Surface anyways...

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: 2000?

            What's your experience? I'm using it right now, and using it in the field. It works pretty well, although the screen is not large, but the resolution is good and it's totally usable. The stylus helps a lot. And anyway better then nothing - with any iOS or Android tablet you can't run it at all - and there's no comparable "app".

            1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge


              "What's my experience?"

              I am the systems administrator for a photo lab that owns the profesisonal photography market for western Canada. There are some 4000 pro photographers whom I deal with through them and a few dozen that are large enough to require the IT services of my consulting company directly.

              I have worked with these people on damned near every kind of portable endpoint imaginable. From 17" notebooks that were workstation-class (I.E. they plugged into La Cie monitors back in the grey room and needed to do full DDC/CI communication to get automated calibration) to tablets to OQO devices, portable servers, mini-racks on wheels and everything in between.

              If there's an off-the-shelf solution for the photographic industry, I've used it. If there's a custom solution, I've designed it. A good chunk of the non-Adobe hardware - and software - that gets built for professional photographers has had my personal input involved.

              I give zero fucks about fanboyishness. I don't care who makes the widget, the software or so on and so forth. I don't care if the solution is a tablet, a notebook, a PC or a server rack. What I care about is that when my photographers go into the field they have tools that work. These have to be tools the photographers understand, that are unbelievably reliable and they have to be cheap. (Photographers - with rare exceptions - don't have money to spend on IT.)

              Tablets just haven't passed muster so far. We've trailed hundreds over the past decade with dozens of companies. Including both Surfaces. They aren't good enough yet. They certainly don't handle the requirements of things like Flow, SchoolDays, PDI, ROES, KPDP2 or other industry standard software. In some cases it's a screen res issue. In others it is a requirement to pin the CPU at the redline for an hour.

              Lightroom is one of those things that came down to "usability." Nobody could see the damned screen well enough to get the quality they wanted out of the thing. Worse, calibrating the screen to get it to match the lab's paper output profile exactly is a miserable, protracted bitch. (Put this up against the panel in the new ASUS utlrabooks and you'll see what I mean.)

              Storage is also an issue. You just can't shoot volume to the thing. You aren't getting a single team into Flow on that bloody thing, let alone doing an entire school. I could go on. Suffice it to say that "my experience" in this regard is...extensive.

              More to the point, it is the experience of multiple professional photographers who have made the call, not me.

              A real notebook - or in the worst case one of those awful ultrabooks - is the best tool for a professional photographer today. Surface is a wretched compromise that makes nobody happy and iDroidTat is consumptive, not productive.

              That's my take on the matter, informed from what I believe to be a large enough sample size - and a wide enough body of professional experience - to be relevant. Y'all can lay into me over not "understanding" the subtleties of any number of fields, but IT support for professional photographers is my turf.

              1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

                Re: @LDS

                LDS, you just got your ass handed to you. Run along now and troll somewhere else while you still have some shred of dignity left.

        2. LDS Silver badge

          Re: 2000?

          Keep on downvoting. It won't make Lightroom run on your iPads. Keep on with your little toy apps... while adults do some real work.

          1. Goat Jam



            LDS trolled: "Keep on downvoting. It won't make Lightroom run on your iPads. Keep on with your little toy apps... while adults do some real work."

            Any "adult" who wants to do "real work" in Lightroom won't waste their time futzing about on a fricking tablet.

            Nice troll though.

    4. LDS Silver badge

      Re: 2000?

      This is just the number sent to the street retail channel. Direct sales is not counted.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    People are wondering why Microsoft isn't selling any tablets. Would you trust this company to put out a decent product? After thirty years of utter abusive shite I will never ever buy a Microsoft product with my own money. This just goes to show that the best thing to do is simply ignore whatever it is they're trying to peddle. They're done, and about twenty years too late...

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: And....

      I really hate to do this but not everything MS hardware related was bad, Microsoft Basic Optical Mice for instances last forever (etting a white one was probably a bad idea as its not going yellow). Oh wait I can't think of any more.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And....

        Have to disagree with you there. I used to work for Microsoft and was fairly company-spirited and bought their optical mice for myself and my parents, siblings, etc. in the 2000-2002 timeframe. All but one of them failed within 2-4 years. I got sick of the failure rate and replaced them with Logitechs, all of which are still working. My current mouse must be going on 8 years old. I will never buy a piece of Microsoft hardware again.

        1. DJV Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: And....

          I'm still using a Microsoft Internet Keyboard Pro (about 13 years old). The hand rest is now almost completely smooth. It usually gets ripped to pieces once every 3 or 4 years to extract the shite* that's accumulated under the keys ;)

          * Well, not exactly shite, probably more like bits of sandwich, biscuit crumbs and half a ton of cat fur...

          That keyboard was obviously one of the few decent things they ever made (unlike Vista, Win 8, ME and a host of other old truck).

      2. Goat Jam

        Re: And....

        "Microsoft Basic Optical Mice for instances last forever"

        Like most geeks, I have a shed full of various computer bits that are in various states of workingness and that of course includes a random assortment of mice.

        Most of them still work except a few that don't and the ones that don't are exclusively MS branded.

        This is not a scientifically valid sample, I'm just sayin'.

      3. Charles Manning

        Optical Mice

        There's really nothing in an optical mouse and comparing that to a Surface is ridiculous.

        I don't know if MS actually designed the Surface, but the optical mouse was pretty much designed by HP - with Microsoft maybe deciding on the shape of the plastics.

        1. MrRtd

          Re: Optical Mice

          I have to agree. Comparing a mouse or a keyboard to much more sophisticated hardware/software is a bit over the top.

        2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

          Re: Optical Mice

          Why the surface has an input surface like the mouse, but being designed by another company probably explains why the MS Mice I have at least have done me well (To be far I'm still heavily using a 6 year old wireless Logitech laser Mouse so I am not one sided in regards input hardware)

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Optical Mice

          "There's really nothing in an optical mouse and comparing that to a Surface is ridiculous."

          Yes and no. The devices might have nothing in common and might even be manufactured by different companies. But Microsoft's culture/mentality/etc. when doing their end of the design and selecting manufacturers seems to be poor.

      4. N2

        Re: And....

        Yes, three button mouse = good for me & still use it now,

        Bought a stock of them because like most good things they get yanked prematurely!

  3. Only me!

    what to buy

    When you look at the spec and hold one it seems quite nice. But I avoided the surface 1 as I knew there would be issues. The Surface 2 has problems now too. But the biggest problem I have with it is the fact you spend top dollar money to buy has issues and there is no way to upgrade or repair it.

    Now if it is a tablet I can understand to a point of not being able to upgrade.... But it is a PC....if in 6 months time I see a nice large ssd which should fit in the space where the current one is I want to be able to swap it and replace the battery when it dies in 18 months....if I am buying a laptop I want it to last longer than 2 minutes before I have to replace it.

    Come on MS get a grip!

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: what to buy

      I agree the Surface Pro 2 is a nice device. It's just too expensive.

      And the Surface 2 is a nice device as well. But its expensive and an evolutionary deadend. Microsoft would be better to replace it with an Atom powered model which would at least run proper Windows 8 and applications.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: what to buy

        Not everyone agrees with you that ARM is an evolutionary deadend and the future is all Intel.

        1. DrXym Silver badge

          Re: what to buy

          "Not everyone agrees with you that ARM is an evolutionary deadend and the future is all Intel."

          It is for Windows. There is this little thing called CONTEXT. Let's see if you can comprehend why it might apply in this instance.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: what to buy

        Is expensive or just you can't afford it? I like its i5 and 8GB of RAM. They allow me to run Lightroom fine on my 22 Mpx RAW images. An Atom and 2GB would not allow it. There's plenty of cheap underpowered tablets - MS did the right thing to aim at the high-end market. Just it can't deliver such kind of firmware to customers who paid for high-end products. This is a huge mistake, and moreover made in the wrong time of the year.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: what to buy

      Maybe you didn't look at the recent slim notebooks - they are like the Surface. You can't upgrade them. Nor the RAM, nor the disk. Nothing. They are sealed and glued like the Surface. That's the price you pay for ultraportability.

      You can still buy a think and heavy laptop and upgrade it somehow, if you like it.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: what to buy

        Your downvotes will not make your new Macbook upgradable anyway... face it, that's the road this industry is going - do you want an upgrade? Buy a new device.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: what to buy

          "Your downvotes will not make your new Macbook upgradable anyway... face it, that's the road this industry is going - do you want an upgrade? Buy a new device."

          Nope, the downvotes are because your post is inaccurate. Regardless of what you may have heard on fanboy forums and made up in your imagination, the MacBook Airs are extremely easy to open, repair, and upgrade in the case of the SSD. Nothing is glued in. The angst over recent MacBook Pros having batteries that are "glued in" turned out to be much ado about nothing, too, since Apple has stated that the batteries and top cases are not supposed to be separable and are sold together as one unit. As long as you don't expect to unglue the battery, a recent MacBook Pro is about as easy to disassemble, repair, and upgrade as any recent PC laptop I've seen.

        2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          Re: what to buy


          "Your downvotes will not make your new Macbook upgradable anyway..."

          I've upgraded the HDD (to an SSD), and the memory to 16GB (from 4GB) in mine. This is as much as pretty much any mainstream laptop will allow,; the laptop form factor mandates limited upgradability in exchange for portability. No more or less for MacBooks than for any other brand.

          I am genuinely curious though; are you running a contest with yourself to see how many downvotes you can collect before you get Eadoned? Either way, your one-person anti-Apple crusade is turning you into a laughing stock amongst peeps who actually know what they're talking about.

    3. Goat Jam

      Re: what to buy

      "if in 6 months time I see a nice large ssd which should fit in the space where the current one is I want to be able to swap"

      That would imply that you wish to be able to swap in a PC style 2.5" form factor SSD, into a tablet. Is that what you are saying?

      Now, I'm not sure how thick the Surface/Pro is, but I'm willing to bet it is not as thick as a standard 2.5" form factor drive.

      Here is a clue, to keep things thin and light and cheap(ish), manufacturers don't use standard PC components in disposable CE kit. And let's face it, phones and tablets are well and truly in the CE market space these days. The "SSD" in a tablet is just a chip(s) soldered to the same PCB as the CPU and the RAM. It keeps the costs down, is lighter and is easier to cool.

      At some point we (geeks and nerds) are going to have to acknowledge that the era of PC hacking is nearly over. We need to understand that we were around for the birth of a new industry and the hacking about that we did with our CP/M S100's, Apple II's and IBM PC's was great fun, and I for one am extremely glad I was there for it, even if I was just a minor player. Not many people get to be around during such frontier busting times so I am grateful I had the opportunity to be there.

      However, those days are almost over. Sure, there are still many fun hacking opportunities available to those who want them. That is why I switched to Linux a decade ago. The hacker spirit still lives in Linux. The Raspberry Pi and Arduino of course are hacking toys that we could hardly imagine back in the glory days of the 80's. Much fun to be had there too. But these things are very niche. The vast majority of people are simply not interested.

      The mainstream computer, which grew out of the enthusiast boom of the 80's has well and truly become just another consumer product and is completely beholden to corporate interests. Mainstream computers (I will not use the term 'PC' here) are going to increasingly become locked down CE devices with little or no opportunities for people to modify or customize them further than changing the background wallpaper.

      If you need further proof, then you need look no further than the direction MS is taking Windows. It is clear that they want to move Windows towards an itunes store sales model, where all software is sold from a Microsoft controlled web store where they take a cut. They clearly are willing to do almost anything to achieve this goal, even it means pissing off vast numbers of their users (aka hostages) with a much maligned new user interface. If you are one of those folk who are busy bleating and berating about the direction MS are taking (Trevor Pott, I'm looking at you) then you have to ask yourself just how long you are willing to ride the Microsoft train to CE-ville and at what point you are intending to get off, because I can assure you things are not going to get better in the corporate controlled consumer computer market. If you think they might then you are in serious denial.

      I'm sure you don't like any of this, I certainly don't, but there is sweet FA that any of us can do about it. It is a fact of life and we'd better get used to it.

      In the meantime I will continue building/upgrading desktop PC's with selected components that suit my requirements. A mother board here, a hard drive there, maybe more RAM and generally hacking around in Linux for as long as I am able to do so but I foresee a time when even that will become difficult, or at least quite expensive.

      I reckon that in a decade or so, there will be a thriving (but dwindling) second hand market for PC parts so that old school hackers can get the bits they need because the likes of Gigabyte, MSI and Asus will be just a fond memory. At best, if they are still around they will just be selling or contract manufacturing CE style stuff and their component businesses will be left at first to wither and then to die completely.

      It's not all bad though, that might even be like going back to the old school weekend swap meets and computer clubs of yore, which would be a bit of a buzz.

      "Come on MS get a grip!"

      They have got a grip, it's just that you just don't find their grip comfortable any more.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: what to buy

        Uh, you're berating me for "riding the Microsoft train"? The fuck, what?

        Dude, I give more to open source than I do in federal taxes and I am building out my company in the hopes that 2014 will see one - maybe two - full time dev positions payed for by my company to advance the technologies needed to move more and more of my customers aware from Microsoft.

        ...what are you on about?

        1. Goat Jam

          Re: what to buy

          Hello Trevor, do try and keep your unbridled aggression, umm, bridled, eh?

          I was simply pointing out that MS are not going to change their direction because some people want things to stay the same as they are/were in the good old days.

          Getting on the internets and spewing vitriol all over the place is not going to stop them.

          This means you have a choice. You either live with it and do your blood pressure a favour or you continue to get on the Internet and post futile rants and risk suffering a stroke or something. It's your call.

          Either way MS will continue to do what they do regardless. The PC market is moving in to the CE market and there is nothing any of us can do about it.

          That's what I'm on about.

          Anyway, if you have already decided to alight "the MS train" then good for you. Perhaps that will mean you can be a bit more ambivilent towards the atrocities being committed by MS in the future eh? After it was just the other day I was reading a comment thread where you were pretty damned angry, which is what prompted my comment in the first place.

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Re: what to buy

            I disagree with your thesis. People being angry over Microsoft's actions has indeed caused changes. The thing is, in order to cause changes you need to be angry everywhere. You need the common man to say "no". You need pros, partners and more to stand up and say "no."

            Getting Microsoft to change requires a constant drumbeat of change. Everywhere they turn they need to see opposition to hostile choices and unpopular "features." We wield the only power Microsoft cares about: our own wallets.

            Some of us, however, also wield influence. That influence can take the form of direct purchasing power by being a decision maker somewhere important. It can be in the form of being a regulator (or influencing a regulator) or it could be in the form of being a respected individual in authority with a following.

            Alternately, that influence can come from the power of arguments; or from biting sarcasm, barely repressed rage, etc...tailor your text to your audience. There are tens of thousands of readers of El Reg's comments section. There are over 9 million readers of the site itself. Add in Social media amplification through Twitter, writing for SearchVMware and other angry ranting has reach.

            Our options are more than "accept what's on the plate or walk away from the table." They always have been. Changing the course of the beast is a long, miserable, thankless task, but it is a possible one. (If only just barely).

            The beauty of it - for me, anyways - is that it doesn't take up much of my time. I'm a writer. Rattling off a few thousand words in a thread takes me a matter of a few minutes. It lets me vent some steam and even try to put ideas that are rattling around in my head into an organized form. It's like an alpha test lab for some article writing.

            I thrive on the challenges brought forth by other commenters. Sometimes they point out quite legitimate flaws in my logic. Other times they are completely irrational. Either way, attacking the problem in different ways - using different tones, different words, different styles of logical argumentation or emotional appeal - allows me to test drive writing concepts on real live people.

            If you think for a moment that I get angry writing in the comments, you're mistaken. Oh, I'm often furious at the Empire of Sadness for making my life miserable, but that would be the case whether or not I skewered some hapless nerf herder in the wild text fields.

            Instead, I get to vent. To let the pressure off. It helps, especially when I am trying to do something miserable. Like Install the Windows Azure Pack in it's entirety in 4 hours. And components for one of the critical items won't download. Because cocks. (Thanks Microsoft!)

            So whilst I'm busy inventing new curse words in three or four different languages trying to get the damned widget to work, taking two or three minutes out to rip off a comment like this one provides me an odd sort of Zen. I don't expect that you'll understand it - it's a quirk of my psychology, not yours - but I hope that (one day) you learn to accept it.


            1. Goat Jam

              Re: what to buy

              "I disagree with your thesis."

              As is is your right and I do acknowledge that activism and agitation is not always misplaced.

              However I also believe that the fledgling PC industry of the 80/90s was a frontier land and the industry, now that it is mainstream, will not cater to frontiersmen any more than gentrified 20th Century San Francisco would cater to the likes of Daniel Boone and Wild Bill Hickock.

              Time will tell who is right, eh?

              Try not to get too worked up. I too used to get damned angry, sometimes at open source stuff as well. The Gnome 3 devs deserve to be put in stocks and pelted with rotting fruit in particular. I am making an effort these days to keep a somewhat calmer headspace but that may be just me getting older too. Sometimes I still get carried away though. I can't recall who it was who said "90% of stuff is crap" but he was pretty spot on I reckon.

              1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                Re: what to buy

                With the exception of the Empire of Sadness, I don't really get angry at anyone. Even people I consider to be the worst humans on the planet - various warlords, the government of Burma, Dick Cheney, General Alexander, etc - elicit more of a sadness than anger.

                I can count on one hand the number of posts in which I was actually angry while I wrote it. Frustrated at things that refuse to install? Sure. But that's transient. In fact, writing comments helps those sorts of frustrations dissipate.

                Passion is not anger. Nor is zeal. Telling me to be passionate about things is like telling a fish not to swim of a human not to breathe. It is simply a part of my personality. It can not be disabled.

                Additionally, I also disagree with you that I am in way asking Microsoft to cater to "frontiersmen." Quite the opposite: I rather loudly insist they continue to cater to the entrenched gentry instead of going out and chasing after rogues and renegades.

                You and I see the world in very different ways, I expect.

                1. Goat Jam

                  Re: what to buy

                  I'm not going to argue the points you make because they are as valid as mine, even if we disagree.

                  Where I do want to make a point is this:

                  "I rather loudly insist they continue to cater to the entrenched gentry instead of going out and chasing after rogues and renegades"

                  I think you misunderstand what gentrification means. The "Gentry" are not entrenchers, they are displacers. "Gentrification" is a term that is used to describe an area where the "working" class are pushed out and the place is taken over by the "gentry" class, who by definition are not concerned with the nuts and bolts of things because that is beneath them. This typically happens in inner urban areas of major cities.

                  That is where the computer industry is shifting. It is shifting to cater to the vast majority of people who have no interest in the "working" part of computers, they just want to have the computing equivalent of a nice cafe that they can sip lattes in and discuss the latest fashionable causes. They don't want to make coffee for themselves, why should they?

                  There is no point trying to maintain a frontier town lifestyle when the neighbourhood is rapidly filling with dapper folk riding carriages with top hats and canes.

                  I can absolutely guarantee you that at some point in the future general purpose, easily hackable computers as we now now them will will be a thing of the past.

                  Do you imagine they will be around in 100 years? What about 50? What the question really boils down to is this: how long will it take?

                  I said earlier it would be 10 years. I accept that I just made that up. Maybe it will take 8, 12, 15 or even 20 years, who knows? All I know is it is happening now, and it will continue to happen and there is nothing anybody can do about it.

                  There are too many forces pushing it in that direction.

                  Corporations don't like general purpose PC's, it's hard to nickel and dime people when they are free to switch and choose. Governments don't like them either because informed and capable people are much harder to control. Much easier to control a bunch of mindless consumer zombies pawing away at tablets than a bunch of technically adept computer hackers. Prepare for PC's and the Internet to be made into what TV has become, as soon as government and industry can possibly make it happen it surely will.

                  I respect your intention to fight it to the end, I really do, I just don't think you will win that war.

                  1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                    Re: what to buy

                    @Goat Jam, Again, i disagree with you.

                    You're right, I did not understand your use of gentrification in this context. That said, I still think you're incorrect.

                    Will purpose-build computers outsell general-purpose PCs? Absolutely. They always have. (See: embedded computing.) There is a new purpose-built PC: the consumptive tablet. It doesn't invalidate the need for general-purpose PCs. Nothing does, or ever will.

                    General purpose PCs are a professional tool. They are required by professionals of many stripes to build the things that companies need. 10 years, 20, 50, 100 years from now this will still bee true. No matter how narrowly tailored and purpose-build the individual computing devices of the future are.

                    Your pessimism ia also evident here. At some point you cannot create "one device per task" and charge the hoi polloi for a different widget for everything. The trend is to pay the milled masses ever less: eventually you end up with a set of life gizmos that are "minimum must haves" which cost more than the disposable income of the average wage earner. That can't last: no economy can support that.

                    Either the market will solve the problem (ha!) by "reinventing" (or more accurately re-popularizing) the general purpose computing platform) or governments will intervene.

                    In the meantime and between time, selling professional productivity tools (upgradable, powerful general purpose computer, operating systems and applications) is still a hundred-of-millions-of-units-per-year market, even if it is contracting at current. It will stabilize, not evaporate, and abse number of these general-use PCs will sell every year.

                    They are no different than any household appliance. The explosive growth of washing machine sales levelled out a decade or two after their introduction, but holy amazeballs, batman, you can still buy the smeggling things! Indeed, the washing machines available today are even significantly advanced over the units on available 20 years ago.

                    Imagine that.

                    Just because selling power drills is the current growth market doesn't mean everyone is going to rush to throw out their 512-piece manual tool set, or that manufacturers will stop making hammers, screwdrivers or ratchets.

                    Oddly enough, both screwdriver sets and power drills sell just fine.

                    Whether or not Microsoft in particular chooses to keep a hand in the productivity computing market is an open question, and that is exactly where evangelism and grassroots movements come in. It is by demonstrating not only that a passionate market remains that we can show them with minor investment (and resolving their mistakes) that there is still money to be made here.

                    Ultimately, that's the goal: making money.

                    Tablets, wearable computing, the internet of things and so forth are and devices, not or devices. They are complimentary to your general purpose productivity computer, not replacements for it.

                    Not everyone needs a digital productivity tool. Not everyone needs a screwdriver set either. But hundreds of millions still do, and someone will keep addressing that market.

                    1. Goat Jam

                      OK, time zone differences demand that I give this up, although I have enjoyed it. Thanks!

                      I will leave you with two comments though:

                      Firstly, I agree that, let's call them "non-consumption oriented" computers will always exist. It's just that they will become increasingly expensive and aimed at professionals. Servers and workstations as opposed to sub $400 stuff you can buy at your local electronics store. There is one exception to this of course, and that is obviously what I previously alluded to, the Raspberry Pi (and its copycats and successors) which has no pretensions of becoming a mainstream product.

                      When I talk about PC's (for the most part) dying out, I am referring to computers sporting mainstream MS and Apple operating systems. Both those companies are working hard to lock down their products and turn them into CE devices. Of course you are 100% correct that other companies and entrepreneurs will always be there to offer up alternatives but I believe that none of those offerings will include Windows or OSX because neither apple nor MS have any long term interest in doing so. The so-called cloud, software rentals and a 30% cut of every app sold are where MS are aiming for. Maybe they will succeed and maybe they won't but you can be sure that will give it their best shot. Whether something like Linux will step in to fill the void is something we will have to wait and see about. As for apple, as I've said before everything they do is done to sell their hardware but locking your hardware into an app store and cloud services is as easy as pie when you control the entire food chain. Vertical integration is where they are at. They are already half way there and their users are (apparently) loving it, going by how much apple stuff they are buying. I don't get it but I'm not their target market.

                      In fact, now that I think about it, a vertical integration play is exactly what MS are doing as we speak. Historically they have been 100% horizontal integration focused, which is to say make an OS and some applications and spread it all around a whole bunch of "partners". Now they are increasingly freezing their partners out, which is a vertical integration strategy. The Surface products are an example of that, as is the Windows App Store and Azure. They are, once again, using apple for inspiration.

                      Secondly, comparing general purpose PC's to screwdrivers is, in my opinion, not particularly valid. Screwdrivers are cheap, PC's not so much. I would suggest that a better comparison could be made with a lathe. Sure companies make and sell lathes but they, generally speaking, are prohibitively expensive for casual woodworkers and generally only used by professionals and serious amateurs.

                      I see general purpose PC's becoming more like lathes rather than screwdrivers myself.

                      Anyway, I've enjoyed this little toe to toe discussion and hope we can both go away without any ongoing animosity. Oh, and have a good Christmas too. I'm off to bed.

                      1. Goat Jam

                        Sorry, I know that I said I was off, but I just had this thought, that is if I were to summarise my position in a few words it would be this:

                        We (as in tech geeks) need to accept that the majority of products sold in the future will not be aimed at us (ie the mythical tablet with the upgradable SSD that started this whole thing off). You are correct, there will still be some products that cater to people like us but the vast majority of "computer" products just won't. They will cater to people who could not tell an SSD from an LCD and have no intention of learning to, and nothing we can do will change that fact.

                      2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                        I think the dichotomy is that you view general purpose PCs becoming mainframes: things that require large companies to buy. I don't. SMBs will still need general purpose computers. Many home users will as well. Yes, they'll move back up in price from the $400 range, but I don't see them going much higher than $2500 for the entry level stuff. Workstation-class systems will still be workstation-class systems and I just can't see that changing any time soon.

                        When I compare that to smallish virtual cluster - say three nodes + software - that is getting into $30K. That is where I see your "lathe." That's where a business needs to exist even to play the game.

                        The problem with tablets and other CE tat "killing the PC" is that you can't kill demand. As high as demand for CE tat will be (and frankly, all signs are that tablet demand is levelling out in the first world). Maybe the OS won't be OSX or Windows. Maybe it will be a hybrid like ChromeOS or maybe the full-time dev I'm hoping to be able to hire to work on the ReactOS project will tip the scales and that will take off. Maybe a lot of things...but I don't see the general purpose PC dying.

                        What I do see is a choice: Microsoft and Apple can choose to own that market or not. It's theirs to throw away. No, the market won't show growth. But the productivity endpoint market will still sit there, being a good little earner for decades to come.

                        ...just like making screwdrivers.

                        Anywho, cheers and have a good holiday season!

                        1. M Gale

                          Just a quickie

                          "Empire of Sadness"

                          Has Linden Labs gotten some massive pretentions lately, or is this some other Registerism (or perhaps, Pottism) that I don't know of yet?

                          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                            Re: Just a quickie

                            Empire of Sadness = Microsoft Licensing.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stick to software Mickeysoft, its obvious they ain't any good with hardware. It's not like you can just issue a service pack for hardware if the hardware is just flawed.

    1. Hilibnist

      ...yeah, just like that Xbox thing that never caught on.

      I know, I know... Ring of Death... we all like to see Microsoft suffer and all that, but it's just a teeny bit disingenuous to write off all MS hardware projects as epic fails.

      Their track record on hardware more elaborate than a keyboard or mouse isn't brilliant.

      1. Mike Brown

        "but it's just a teeny bit disingenuous to write off all MS hardware projects as epic fails."

        not really. Except the xbox, name me a MS hardware project that works brilliantly?

        Infact even the Xbox is a failure: they spent billions buying market share, and so far, according to everyones best guess, still havnt made any profit from it. Everyone that bought a 360 has had mutliples due to the RROD issue, mostly at Microsofts expense.

        MS suck balls when it comes to hardware. Oh sorry, i loved my 1996 sidewinder joystick. I killed a lot of rebel scum with it. But i dont think one ancient joystick saves MS's perpetual hardware cock ups

        edit: now i think about it that joystick lasted about 6m before it died.....

        1. MrDamage Silver badge

          @ Mike Brown

          " Except the xbox, name me a MS hardware project that works brilliantly?"

          MS Optical Trackball.

          Theres one. Dont know of any others though.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      As long as it is a firmware bug it's still software - not hardware. If it turns out it's the hardware to be flawed, MS will have bad times - because it could need to recall them - if it wants to keep hopes of selling them.

  5. Jess

    Problems with the Surface.

    You really want an ARM chip in a tablet, I just decided against a Fonepad, the x86 chip was a big factor.

    But you really need and x86 for windows. (Especially when the tablet uses a different OS to the phones)

    The Windows 8 concept would seem to make sense if the configuration were tablet in place of a keyboard, with a second normal screen at eye level for desktop programs. (Or a giant Nintendo DS) however it isn't offered like this.

    General users buy tablets because they want a simple to use computer without the expense and aggravation of Windows, rather than because they like the form.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wait... What?



    1. c:\boot.ini

      Re: Wait... What?

      Yes, and some idiot on here claimed it was outselling iPad air ;-)

  7. Shady

    With Surfaces potentially going under Christmas trees this season....

    "I TOLD YOU I WANTED AN IPAD!!!!!!" WAH!!!!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: With Surfaces potentially going under Christmas trees this season....

      Don't put it under the xmas tree, or the tree will catch fire LOL

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: With Surfaces potentially going under Christmas trees this season....

        Till now the only known tablet to burn has been an iPad...

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: With Surfaces potentially going under Christmas trees this season....

          The iPad has sold so many units that - statistically speaking - we'd see a few breached lithium cells by now.

          Microsoft has accomplished the feat of burning their users without a manufacturing defect or battery-puncturing user-error. +1 those guys.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: With Surfaces potentially going under Christmas trees this season....

            Yet, it the only one to be know for having self-ignited.

            1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

              Re: With Surfaces potentially going under Christmas trees this season....

              Again, any devices shipping with Lithium battery packs in the volumes achieved by the iPad will have some units that do this. Boeing airplanes do this.

              That Microsoft hasn't' had a surface spontaneously combust is merely an indication that they've shipped a pitiful amount of them, nothing more. All sorts of consumer - or even professional, industrial and military - electronics that ships with lithium packs have had the same self-immolation issues over the years.

              That isn't bad design. It isn't bad engineering. (Well, Boeing...) It's bad quality control and razor-thin manufacturing margins. The only problem with attacking Apple for that is that Microsoft's kit is made by the same companies on the same bloody lines. (Actually, IIRC, Apple has the best QA in the business and some of the highest wages for the assemblers.)

              There are lots of reasons to lay into Apple. That isn't one.

  8. Snivelling Wretch

    I see the old adage of waiting for the .1 release still holds true...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    MS has absolute control, including the hardware and they still fcuk things up! Chuck em in the bin.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "With Surfaces potentially going under Christmas trees this season, Microsoft seems to have made a calculated gamble that having a hot tab is better than one that’s handicapped. Two thousand Surface 2s have been shipped to the UK."

    I'm sure they are handicapped regardless as it is a Microsoft product.

    1. Hellcat

      Come up with that one all by yourself or was it originally written as "I'm sure they are handicapped regardless as it is a.Apple/Samsung/Oracle/Sun/Citrix/Cisco/<insert hated technology company name here> product."

  11. Zot

    Are all their employees chiefs?

    Where have all the programmers and designers gone? Not to mention any testers.

    Well that's what it seems like anyway.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Are all their employees chiefs?

      "Testers?" That would imply that Microsoft products are potentially imperfect as designed. Clearly you don't understand Redmondian culture. Take "not invented here" mix with 30% total planetary arrogance, whip on medium for 15 minutes and serve using sharks with frikkin plasma beams attacked to their frikkin tails.

  12. Bladeforce

    This company really is..

    the Osama Bin Laden of the tech world

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This company really is..

      "the Osama Bin Laden of the tech world"

      I was thinking more like the Norman Wisdom.

  13. Mikel

    Unleash the astroturfers

    Quick! Get those bloggers out there bragging how the subdued contrast is so much easier on the eyes than the harsh glare of an iPad screen.

  14. RaidOne

    "With Surfaces potentially going under Christmas trees this season"

    This has made my day! Potentially!

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: "With Surfaces potentially going under Christmas trees this season"

      Under the Christmas Tree might mean being burried in the back garden on the 12th night as we re-plant the tree until next year.

      Sadly doing so would probably kill the tree.

  15. Rallicat

    Because only Windows has bugs...

    ... oh, wait.

  16. Paul Webb

    'With Surfaces potentially going on the Christmas fire this season'

    Especially any self-immolating ones - won't be roasting my chestnuts near one though.

  17. chivo243 Silver badge

    Return Shipping!

    Only 2000 of those? Shipping them back won’t cost much....

  18. A Butler

    The Surface 2 good news story from 2-3 days ago not reported on The Reg...

    As per usual The Reg will NEVER publish any semblance of a good news story regarding the Surface tablet.

    A few days ago it was widely reported that the device had sold out in the US, sourced from various retailers not just Microsoft marketing. Of course no mention of it here..... only sniping anti-Surface news welcome.

    Here ye go for a bit of balance:

    1. tempemeaty

      Re: The Surface 2 good news story from 2-3 days ago not reported on The Reg...

      "“With regards to specific inventory levels or sales numbers we don’t comment on those specific figures... "

      Right out of the article itself.

      I'm glad they sold out but of how many?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Surface 2 good news story from 2-3 days ago not reported on The Reg...

      they've run out of stock before christmas - and you think that's good? what numbers are involved?

      1. A Butler

        Re: The Surface 2 good news story from 2-3 days ago not reported on The Reg...

        No doubt the Surface 2 is not selling near the quantities of the iPad which wins as the best tablet for messing about on the couch after a days work. The Nexus being the best android offering, almost all other cheap Android tablets are useless and will be broken by the end of January.

        However its sales are growing, the majority of users who have purchased one (The Surface RT / 2) use it as a combined tablet and laptop replacement ideal for work like editing documents, presentations, emails and ease of access to you files on the full size USB port.

        The surface is the most innovation and distinct tablet in the market currently, ok some parts of windows RT have a few rough edges however that is progressing as can be seen in the 8.1 upgrade.

        The Reg from the get go have been trying to blacken the Surface and Windows RT from the start, this article is more of the same.....

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: The Surface 2 good news story from 2-3 days ago not reported on The Reg...

          "almost all other cheap Android tablets are useless and will be broken by the end of January."

          [Citation needed]

          "However [Surface's] sales are growing, "

          [Citation needed]

          "the majority of users who have purchased one (The Surface RT / 2) use it as a combined tablet and laptop replacement ideal for work like editing documents, presentations, emails and ease of access to you files on the full size USB port."

          [Citation needed]

          T"he surface is the most innovation and distinct tablet in the market currently,"

          [Citation needed, should contain reviews from a number of sources addressing everything from ease of use to user satisfaction, adoption rate to ecosystem size, developer response to hardware reliability]

          "ok some parts of windows RT have a few rough edges however that is progressing as can be seen in the 8.1 upgrade."

          [Citation needed, general opinion seems to be that 8.1 was "not good enough." You have to do a lot to prove otherwise.]

          "The Reg from the get go have been trying to blacken the Surface and Windows RT from the start, this article is more of the same....."

          Bullshit. We aren't trying to "blacken" the Surface or Windows RT at all. I think you'll find that most of us don't care one way or another about the Surface (except for Tim Anderson, he loves it) and even fewer care about Windows RT at all (except for me, I think it's the biggest missed opportunity in modern computing and I lament the mismangement of what could have been the saviour of modern endpoint computing. I love RT. I hate how it was handled.)

          You have a lot of proving your statements to do here. Get to it.

      2. Mikel

        Re: The Surface 2 good news story from 2-3 days ago not reported on The Reg...

        Each one is lovingly handcrafted in Hawthorne, CA by a semi-retired VCR repairman named Hank.

    3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: The Surface 2 good news story from 2-3 days ago not reported on The Reg...

      I'll publish something nice about Surface when something nice about surface exists to be published...and proof of that crosses my desk.

  19. SVV

    The Surface 2 is HOT right now!

    As in "ouch my fingers are burning, turn it off til it cools down!"

    In another quote, "Microsoft attributed screen dimming to “extended, high CPU intensive actions – like gaming.”"

    So, it's not suitable for gaming, which is lucky because nobody uses their tablets for gaming do they?

    Roll on Surface 3, and keep those receipts safe if you've bought one of these.....

  20. Troy Wilson

    Microsoft ---> Customer: really need to be brave.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cooking the Turkey

    Would this have made a more seasonal headline?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cooking the Turkey

      You mean Microsoft marketing was wanting to pitch the Surface as a turn-key solution and Engineering misread it as a Turkey solution?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    With Surfaces potentially going under Christmas trees this season

    The only Christmas trees that surface tablets will be under this year are the ones down the dump on Jan 2nd....

  23. PeterM42

    Oh Dear

    Microsoft failing to TEST PROPERLY - AGAIN!!!!!

  24. David Goadby

    to rushed ot carry out testing?

    It appears that Microsoft are starting to panic and, as a result, are not thoroughly testing their code. Having missed Xmas last year, and with RT a flop, Microsoft need to get someone at the helm that can manage a big company - and FAST. They are rudderless at the moment. Yes, they have a cash mountain but it won't last forever.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People actually buy those turd Surface tablets?

    Couldn't they have at least waited till the next major write-off from Microsoft? At least there will be a hefty discount.

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