Microsoft finally stops screwing Surface Pro 4 owners with flickergate

In a well-orchestrated Friday night news dump, Microsoft has announced a reversal of its customer-antagonistic flickergate policy. If you have a Surface Pro 4 that flickers like a firefly in heat, you can now exchange it for a refurbished Surface Pro 4. Golly.

surface pro 4

Microsoft's new move to put PR groups inside its operating divisions is paying off. We're now seeing the worst news shuffled out the door on Friday nights. This week's instance addresses a years-long fight by afflicted Surface Pro 4 users to get Microsoft to admit it has a problem, and to provide redress.

Flickergate, you may recall, involves the propensity of some Surface Pro 4 machines to flicker violently. You can see the shake — dating to March 6, 2016, mind you — in a YouTube video posted by Dmitriy1986.

I've written about the flicker, and Microsoft's abhorrent treatment of its customers, on April 4, 2017, Aug. 1, 2017, Nov. 13, 2017, Feb. 7, 2018, and Mar. 21, 2018.

I've heard exactly nothing from Microsoft. More than two years into the debacle, the Surface Pro 4 is obsolete — you can't buy one from Microsoft — many complainers have moved on to other machines, and Microsoft is finally getting back to us.

Perhaps the website changed Microsoft's mind, but it's been around for more than a year. (It's currently not responding.) Maybe the ongoing threat of class-action lawsuits provided some impetus. Certainly, the PR folks have triumphed by dumping the news on Friday night.

Whatever the motivation, Microsoft 'fessed up:

We have heard your feedback and after careful examination, have determined that a small percentage of Surface Pro 4 devices are exhibiting a screen flicker that cannot be addressed with a firmware or driver update. To support customers affected by this issue, we will replace eligible Surface Pro 4 devices for up to three years from the date of purchase, free of charge.

Microsoft provides replacement devices which are refurbished to the defined quality standards.

Never mind that we've been screaming at the top of our lungs for years.

There's one sop to the neglected customer:

Customers who have already paid an out-of-warranty fee to repair the screen flickering issue will be offered a refund and should contact Customer Support for validation.

Gee, if we had just known that, oh, two years ago.

Steamed up? I certainly am. Vent on the AskWoody Lounge.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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