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Lawyer sues Microsoft over Surface tablet storage


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#1 Asrokhel

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 06:29

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A California lawyer is suing Microsoft Corp., claiming the Surface tablet he bought doesn't have all the storage space the company advertised.

Andrew Sokolowski, a lawyer in Los Angeles, claims that he bought a Surface with 32 gigabytes of storage last week. But he quickly ran out of space after loading it with music and Microsoft Word documents.

He discovered that a significant portion of the 32 GB storage space was being used by the operating system and pre-installed apps such as Word and Excel. Only 16 GB was available for him to use.

Sokolowski's lawyers filed the suit alleging false advertising and unfair business practices on Tuesday at the Superior Court in Los Angeles. They are seeking class action status.

The suit aims to change how Microsoft advertises its device and hopes to force the company to give back revenue and profits that resulted from its alleged wrongful conduct.

Microsoft said in a statement that it believes the suit is without merit.

"Customers understand the operating system and pre-installed applications reside on the device's internal storage thereby reducing the total free space," the company said. It noted that people can add storage via the microSD slot and USB port.

Microsoft confirmed on Nov. 5 exactly how much usable storage space its Surface tablets come with out of the box. It says on its website that the 32 GB Surface has 16 GB of free space while the 64 GB version has 45 GB free. The Surface started selling Oct. 26 and Sokolowski bought his device on Nov. 7.

Sokolowski's lawyer, Rhett Francisco, said Wednesday that his client never saw Microsoft's responses and said the details on its website are "buried."

"They make you search and dig for it specifically, or you would never find it," he said.

It's common for mobile devices to have less usable storage space than advertised.

Flash drives and regular hard drives provide less usable memory than their labels say, mainly because there are two definitions of the word "gigabyte." That means that, right off the bat, consumers get about 7 percent less space than advertised. A 16 GB drive, for example, has about 15 GB available for use.

On flash drives, the kind used in tablets, another factor reduces the available storage further. A portion of the memory space is set aside to replace "cells" that wear out over time. For this reason, Apple's 16 GB iPad has an actual storage capacity that's 11 percent lower than the one advertised: 14.3 GB. The 64 GB model stores 57.2 GB.

On the iPad, all the storage space after the 11 percent "discount" is available for the user's photos, movies and apps. The operating system and Apple's pre-installed apps have their own, separate memory space. Microsoft's operating system and apps, in contrast, share memory space with the user.

Michael Gartenberg, research director for technology research firm Gartner Inc., said Microsoft has consistently said there would be less memory available than is advertised. He said it is "unsurprising" that its new operating system and near full-blown version of Office take up a big chunk of the memory.

"I think they made it pretty clear to consumers what they're getting," he said.

And even if Microsoft's base-model Surface only has 16 GB of memory available, that's still slightly more than the 14.3 GB you'll get from the latest Wi-Fi only iPad for the same price of $499.













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#2 dvb2000

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 06:58

Andrew Sokolowski, a lawyer in Los Angeles, claims that he bought a Surface with 32 gigabytes of storage last week. But he quickly ran out of space after loading it with music and Microsoft Word documents.


Stupid lawyer. He got what he paid for, a surface with 32gb of memory.

Microsoft don't advertise the device with 32gb of FREE memory.

#3 nekkidtruth

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:10

Stupid lawyer. He got what he paid for, a surface with 32gb of memory.

Microsoft don't advertise the device with 32gb of FREE memory.


It may not not be false advertising, but it's certainly misleading (and of course Microsoft is NOT the only one to advertise this way). It will be interesting to see what happens. I personally don't agree with advertising the full amount regardless of what's taken up by systems and or apps (on any type of device with hard drive space). They should be sold with the actual amount of free space advertised. But that's just my own opinion.

#4 MDboyz

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:17

If this guy could win case, there would be countless people suing every company that sell computers or anything that contains storage devices :) ...

I guess after this case, he will file for bankruptcy. Nobody will go for stupid lawyer like him.

#5 +Obi-Wan Kenobi

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:19

Herp Derp. Slap a plentiful sized SD/microSD card in that baby, and you're all set. No lawsuit required. Darwin. This guy deserves it. You know what I'm talking about. Good night Neowin....see you in the morning, my time. (Drops mic)

#6 TheLegendOfMart

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:26

Hardly Herp Derp, most phones/tablets have the OS stored on a ROM, I'm not sure how Windows RT works whether it would be able to run on ROM or not, but its a pretty d**k move to advertise your tablet as 32Gb then use half the space to install the OS.

#7 neo158

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:37

The strange thing is that my Surface has, after a 3.5GB Recovery Partition, roughly 24GB of internal storage available. That leads me to believe that some Surface Devices either have an unacceptably large recovery partition or have a fault with the internal storage.

#8 MDboyz

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:45

You can easy to move the recovery to the USB and get back the space from Recovery Partition. I already did that for my wife's Surface. They include the Recovery Partition in case people mess up the OS, so they can just restore the OS w/o bring back to the store.

The strange thing is that my Surface has, after a 3.5GB Recovery Partition, roughly 24GB of internal storage available. That leads me to believe that some Surface Devices either have an unacceptably large recovery partition or have a fault with the internal storage.



#9 +Brando212

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:50

Hardly Herp Derp, most phones/tablets have the OS stored on a ROM, I'm not sure how Windows RT works whether it would be able to run on ROM or not, but its a pretty d**k move to advertise your tablet as 32Gb then use half the space to install the OS.

nope, Windows RT works the same way as the normal version of windows, it's installed directly on the SSD, so of course it will take up some space

this whole lawsuit is stupid, you don't see people going crazy and suing because a laptop is advertized with a 750gb hard-drive and they can't use all the space. it's the exact same thing

#10 Argote

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:52

The device does indeed have 32 GB of memory, AFAIK he can uninstall everything and install something else if he really wants the space.

#11 TheLegendOfMart

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:53

nope, Windows RT works the same way as the normal version of windows, it's installed directly on the SSD, so of course it will take up some space

this whole lawsuit is stupid, you don't see people going crazy and suing because a laptop is advertized with a 750gb hard-drive and they can't use all the space. it's the exact same thing

For a Windows 8 Pro tablet maybe, but its generally accepted that ARM tablets have the OS stored on ROM, so the advertised space minus the whole 1024/1000 conversion is the space you get to play with. Which is why this guy is suing.

#12 Hardcore Til I Die

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:54

I think it's somewhat misleading.

Companies should be made to advertise the USABLE storage space. Someone who sees "Microsoft Surface 32GB" is going to assume it has (close to) 32GB available, not that half of that space is taken up by the OS.

Call me an idiot but I can't see anywhere on this page where it says that half of the space in the 32GB surface is used by the OS:

http://www.microsoft...mc_id=FY13WinHH

#13 OP Asrokhel

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 08:02

this whole lawsuit is stupid, you don't see people going crazy and suing because a laptop is advertized with a 750gb hard-drive and they can't use all the space. it's the exact same thing


Actually, that's not quite true, there have been lawsuits brought against drive manufacturers in regards to mislabelling drive space, for example, a 1TB has only 932GB, etc.

#14 rfirth

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 08:26

Actually, that's not quite true, there have been lawsuits brought against drive manufacturers in regards to mislabelling drive space, for example, a 1TB has only 932GB, etc.


No, the hard drive manufacturers should be sued for that. The 1024/1000 thing... advertising the hard drive space in base 10 is definitely misleading and wrong.

But computer OEM's are different. If you buy a laptop with a 1 TB hard drive... first you lose the space due to the advertised capacity being in base 10 (that's wrong). Then you again lose space because the OS and programs take up space. That second loss is common sense and simply to be expected.

#15 nekkidtruth

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 08:32

No, the hard drive manufacturers should be sued for that. The 1024/1000 thing... advertising the hard drive space in base 10 is definitely misleading and wrong.

But computer OEM's are different. If you buy a laptop with a 1 TB hard drive... first you lose the space due to the advertised capacity being in base 10 (that's wrong). Then you again lose space because the OS and programs take up space. That second loss is common sense and simply to be expected.


Common sense simply because we've allowed it to be that way. For too long in my opinion. Does it sound silly to say "New 2013 Sony Viao with 936GB hard drive!"? Yes. But at least it's honest. Also just for the sake of argument, why can't this change?