Microsoft says software fix coming for Surface Pro 3 models with battery issues

After weeks of complaints by some users experiencing Surface Pro 3 battery-drain issues, Microsoft is now saying a software fix will likely remedy the problem.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Over the past couple of weeks, a number of Surface Pro 3 users have taken to Twitter to complain vociferously about battery-drain issues they've been experiencing.


Surface Pro 3s with Simplo batteries seemed to be the only models affected, based on user reports that date to a month or so ago. Some users said their battery drain was so bad that their Surface Pro 3 tablets could last only a minute or two on battery power.

While some users had hoped a recent set of firmware updates for Surface Pro 3 -- the first for those devices in three months -- might fix the battery-drain issue, Microsoft officials said that wasn't the case. That set of firmware updates was meant to increase battery life during sleep mode and improve keyboard stability only, a spokesperson told me.

I asked Microsoft officials about the reported battery-life issue several times over the past week-plus. I was told by a couple of different spokespeople that "Microsoft is investigating reports of a separate question regarding Surface Pro 3 batteries in which the system is reporting lower battery capacity than expected."

On July 26, Microsoft provided an updated statement on the situation via the company's support forums.

"We are aware of some customers reporting a scenario with their Surface Pro 3 batteries in which the system is reporting lower battery capacity than expected. We've isolated this to a limited number of customers experiencing this issue. Based on our investigations we can confirm that it is not an issue with the battery cells, and we believe this is something that can be addressed via software. We're working through the details of how we deliver that."

Microsoft is not saying when or how the company expects to push out the fix (I asked).

Regarding those users who are reporting being charged $99 by Microsoft Support for investigating their Surface Pro 3 battery problems, a Microsoft spokesperson said this is not correct policy. Even if those devices are out of warranty, the company won't apply the standard support charge for investigating this Simplo battery issue, a spokesperson told me yesterday.

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