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> "So quickly, in fact, that I can outrun Microsoft Word on the Surface. I get the feeling that the Surface RT’s CPU or Word code just can’t keep up with my typing. Here’s an example video:"

I'm on the Word team in Office and I'm coming into this thread incredibly late, but FWIW the slow typing on ARM was something we couldn't fully address in time for the preview release. Word RTM (ARM and x86/x64) has much better performance.

One of the challenges we had was that for a large majority of the product cycle we didn't even know about the Surface. We were looking at ARM early on, but the hardware we had was prerelease hardware from MSFT partners that had varying levels of performance.

Even now we don't know a whole lot about the Surface. It's a little frustrating, since we (Office) hit RTM we're eagerly awaiting the point at which new Surface RTs will have Office RTM baked into them. The preview release is seriously many many months old from the RTM release, and it's painful to think that this is what customers are going to see from Office when they turn on their shiny new device.




This issue is known, intermittent and dependent on a number of factors. It has been addressed and an update is forthcoming.

This type of issue would be identical across NVIDIA based ARM PCs and large numbers of the reference platforms were available at the same time they have been available to external developers.

Developers on the Office team (and Word team) that needed to contribute to the ARM focused work had access to the tools and hardware needed, including Surface specific hardware. There was no shortage of knowledge, hardware, or communication.

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Steve, when will you update the image that ships on Surface RT devices? I had to download around 600MB of Windows Updates on day one before Office was in it's final usable state. Once updated though, Office is great - I didn't realize Word had a blogging client built in that rivals Windows Live Writer!

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Thanks, sir. I really appreciate this, and I'm about to frame it. I've been so frustrated after being vilified by folks for even suggesting that there's a problem. (sigh) Thanks for commenting here where the action is - that's really awesome.

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Off topic comment. Just tried the surface RT at the Microsoft store today. I think its awesome. I am considering the surface PRO for purchase. However, I am concerned that I cannot use it as a "laptop" i.e. balance the surface while typing with the keyboard on my lap. This is probably 50% of my usage scenario. If there is a heavier version of typecover that can support the tablet without a kickstand when placed on the lap I would rush out to buy the Pro version.

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I can type on my lap with touch cover just fine. Not quite as fast as when on a desk but I think that is true (for me) even with normal laptops. I think it just has to do with the angle that your arms/hands are in.

I was also a little skeptical but I was pleasantly surprised by how natural and easy it felt.

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i know you mean well, but you really shouldn't be posting this. it does not reflect well pn MS if one of their major differentiators, Office, was not in the loop during this major new product's development.

by the way, it is even worse with Powerpoint. every few lines typed i had the screen go white to redraw the whole UI.

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That depends on your perspective. I, for one, am put off by excessive "corporate image". Perhaps some people are put off by hearing that sometimes one department doesn't talk to another. For me, I'm just pleased to hear that there is an explanation of some sort. And that there is an actual human being somewhere within the company, not just an anonymous collection of robotic drones. And guess what: I already knew that sometimes one department doesn't speak to another because that happens everywhere.

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Users become a lot more accepting of problems when there is a feedback loop acknowledging and explaining those problems. It certainly does not mean the problem will be fixed, but it is a starting point.

When there is no communication, then the users are left to imagine all kinds of wild theories of what went wrong and why. It is a waste of time for all involved.

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Agreed, this guy is putting his job on the line. I appreciate his contribution to the discussion, but would hate to see a guy lose his job over a HN comment.

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Interesting. Thanks for the insider's insight. Is Microsoft really serious about challenging the iPad juggernaut with this kind of inattention to detail?

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> Is Microsoft really serious about challenging the iPad juggernaut with this kind of inattention to detail?

Not sure where you're going with this, but given the amount of effort and ambition around the Surface, I would say that Microsoft is absolutely serious.

As for Word, there was a limited number of things we could do and fix in a finite amount of time. Trade-offs need to be made.

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There's a difference between being serious about a product and being serious enough to do what it takes to make the product succeed. Apple has set a high bar of tight hardware/software integration, where the software is hand-tuned to take advantage of everything limited mobile hardware has to offer. The market expects nothing less. The Apple model works because management is willing to control both sides, and the Android model works because everything is relatively open so the software devs can play directly with the hardware.

> there was a limited number of things we could do

No one is blaming you or your team. I'd blame the lowest person in the company who had the ability to install beta versions of Office on beta versions of Surface.

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Sure, but if the right hand is as unaware of the left hand as you describe I don't think Apple has much to worry about. Going up against the dominant player with essentially no price delta means you have to be at least 2x as good.

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No offense here, and I realise that you probably aren't in management, but if you can't fix a problem with slow typing and you're on the Word team, then the release should have been put back. Seriously.

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Not sure where you're going with this, but given the amount of effort and ambition around the Surface, I would say that Microsoft is absolutely serious.

Effort and ambition, together with $4, will get you a double latte at Starbucks.

To beat Apple, you are going to have to take the next step: competence.

When the board fires Ballmer, that will be the signal that Microsoft is ready to get serious. Until then, it's all just talk.

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Apparently not serious enough. Windows RT seems to runs a lot slower than Android 4.1 on the exact same hardware. I wonder how much slower it would run on the initial single core and dual core ARM chips for tablets than Android and iOS ran on, with decent performance.

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Or, it could be that writing software is significantly more difficult than complaining on the Internet.

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So we hear, "we got access to the hardware a bit late" and "the pre-release version is bad, it's already considerably better now and will be even better soon", and conclude that Microsoft doesn't care?

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Can you shed more light on what conditions made it so that your team was caught unaware wrt the fact that Office was being targeted for Surface on ARM? Is your division not allowed to talk to the Surface/hardware division per anti-trust settlement obligations?

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Surface was a secret even internally. I'm not in Office, but I assume they were simply not told that it existed.

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I for one appreciate your candid response.

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