Microsoft Says Malfunctioning Device Led to Failed Interference Test

Microsoft wants a do-over after a device failed an FCC interference test Aug. 9; the software giant says a faulty device is to blame.
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Microsoft wants a do-over after a device failed an FCC interference test Aug. 9; the software giant says a faulty device is to blame.

The device (“Prototype A”), designed to operate on so-called White Space in the DTV spectrum, failed to detect DTV signals as designed. In a filing, Microsoft claims that in the presence of FCC engineers, a further test revealed that a scanner in the device had been damaged, making the device fail to detect—and thus avoid interfering with—DTV signals. The company also complained that the FCC held a spare, working Prototype A and did not use it for any testing.

NAB, vigilant against devices that might interfere with DTV, mocked Microsoft’s excuse, calling the company’s statements “perplexing”.

“Microsoft doesn’t seem to get that the FCC process is not a game and they cannot have a do-over,” NAB Executive VP for Administration and Agencies Douglas S. Wiley wrote in a letter to Microsoft. “On behalf of the entire U.S. broadcasting industry, it is: 1) outrageous that Microsoft now claims the device did not work, after the fact; 2) unacceptable that the high tech industry spent immensely valuable FCC and government time and engineering resources only to, in the end, claim a faulty device was to blame for an undesirable result. With the immense importance of the testing to innumerable stakeholders, one would think that your industry would certainly ensure the good working order of the prototype device(s), at the very least.