Report: leaked Microsoft memo discusses Surface returns


— 1:32 PM on August 14, 2017

When we reported last Thursday that Consumer Reports (CR) would no longer be recommending Surface devices, some gerbils expressed concern at the fact that CR's reliability data was seemingly based on consumer self-reporting. Today, Microsoft-centric analyst Paul Thurrott revealed that he has come into possession of what he claims is a leaked memo from the Redmond giant. Among other remarks, Thurrott says that the memo confirms the high return rates for the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book devices, apparently justifying CR's decision.

Thurrott didn't publish the text of the memo itself, though he offers a handful of thoughts on it. The memo apparently admits that the devices had issues early on, but emphasizes that their reliability has improved and says that the Surface division's "incidents per unit" currently sits at less than one percent.

The purported text also notes that customers are overwhelmingly pleased with their Surface devices even if they had a problem with them. Thurrott repeats the words of Microsoft's Panos Panay stating that Microsoft's "Net Promoter Score" (NPS) is "consistently higher" than other OEMs'. NPS is a metric that gauges customer satisfaction, and despite the fact that a quarter of Surface owners had some kind of problem with their device within the first year, they're seemingly still happy with their purchase overall.

According to the analyst, Microsoft is preparing a campaign to underscore the improvements that the company has made in reliability since the troubled launches of the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book, though the memo apparently offered no details on what such a campaign might entail. Given that Surface customers are reportedly mostly pleased with their purchases, it's difficult to imagine that Microsoft's campaign would need to be very aggressive. Check out Thurrott's report for more information.

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