Microsoft Surface Crashes Mid-Debut

    June 21, 2012
    Sean Patterson
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It’s hard being Microsoft. Windows has had the stigma of software crashes associated with it for over nearly two decades now, and its blue screen of death has become iconic. The company has even tried to lighten up that blue screen for its new Windows 8 operating system, but a crash is a crash, and its never fun.

Since Microsoft’s new Surface tablets will run on Windows 8, I suppose customers can expect to see the new frowny-face blue screen of death at some point. However, the screen was curiously lacking on Monday when a Surface tablet decided to become obstinately frozen during the middle of Microsoft’s big Surface announcement.

Watch the video below to see Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows division at Microsoft, show off Internet Explorer on a Surface tablet, only to have it lock up. Even the home button on the device fails to fix the problem. Sinofsky tries his best to work through the setback but is obviously flustered, and eventually has to swap the tablet for a back-up:

Ouch. I can almost hear Steve Jobs laughing from beyond the veil of death. Though Apple’s computers aren’t quite as stable as they once were, the company certainly hasn’t had a product crash mid-debut. That sort of luck is reserved only for Microsoft. It’s too bad, because Microsoft was probably working on that presentation for weeks, and now the news of the flub will partially overshadow what appears to be a well-designed device. However, if Microsoft’s software can’t hold up, there is no point in dropping hundreds of dollars for a pretty tablet.

  • dan

    It is ignorant to think that a mishap well before release is indicative of the quality of the final product. Their only mistake here was not to acknowledge the mishap and move on without being an awkward mess. Anyone that actually works in the tech industry knows that development is iterative, and what really matters is that you are agile enough to fix issues promptly. BTW this wasn’t necessarily a crash, it might have just been a temporary hang from which it could recover.

    • Alexander Ewering

      If it’s so normal, then why did it not happen ONCE in ANY Apple Keynote? (apart from a single event where WiFi was slow due to 600 Laptops in the room?)


      • bryan

        I don’t know – I was using a Mac for a while, expecting an amazingly idyllic device given all the hype. In reality, it was certainly good, but it had to be hard-rebooted three times during that 9-month period, compared to … well 0 for my Windows machines. And in fact my Windows machines (running VISTA by the way) have each needed to be hard-rebooted maybe four times total in four years.

        Most users these days who have a decent Windows machine and aren’t futzing around with device drivers have probably never seen a blue screen of death on any version of Windows more recent than XP.

        • Richard

          no restarting in 9 months? So I assume this means you don’t update regularly? Tsk tsk!

  • http://mederle.de/ Wolfgang Mederle

    Yes, Steve Jobs certainly had things crash on him at keynotes. I can remember him switching to another Mac as the first one locks up, saying something like “that’s why we have backup systems”.

    • Hugo

      Yes I remember Macs and even iPhone going down during demo. But Steve Jobs didn’t get flustered. Perhaps he expected it more, if current complaints about both Mac and iPhone are anything to go by. So Apple DO read those complaints!

  • http://ubservers.com Maxence

    In terms of stability, Windows has been lacking for a while now. However, Windows 7 came in as a strong OS.
    Now they are trying to place a complete OS on a mobile device. While they might have some bugs and failures right now, what they are trying to do is not stupid at all.

  • Shorty

    I’ve been running Win 7 Pro on my PC since it was released in ’09, haven’t had any BSODs or hard-reboots. Win 7 was an improvement over XP for sure with regards to that.

  • Stevie

    For sure it’s a great entertainment device, it just entertained so many people in so little time 😀