Microsoft Sued For 32GB Surface Model Offering 16GB Free

Microsoft has been sued due to the 32GB variant of its Surface tablet delivering half that amount of storage space.

California lawyer Andrew Sokolowski filed the lawsuit relating to Microsoft's misleading advertisement regarding the storage space offered by Surface. He states that he bought the device in order to receive 32GB of storage before finding out he'd get just half of that.

Microsoft's Surface is indeed advertised as having 32GB of storage but delivers 16GB instead. However, the firm clearly states the situation regarding the tablet's storage space on its website, with the firm saying that the device comes pre-loaded with apps such as Word and Excel, as well as Windows recovery tools, while the bulk of storage space is taken by Windows RT. As for the 64GB model, users are left with 46GB of storage space.

The software company also delivers advice on the same FAQ in regards to how to get more space, including the suggestion of using SkyDrive cloud storage, a USB drive or a microSD memory card.

"We believe this lawsuit is without merit," a Microsoft spokesperson told CNET. "Customers understand the operating system and pre-installed applications reside on the device's internal storage thereby reducing the total free space."

Sokolowski's lawyers aim to obtain class action status with the Los Angeles Superior Court. The main purpose of the suit itself is to make the company change how it advertises its devices, as well as receiving damages for purported wrongful conduct.

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  • bystander
    If this wins, I guess every computer manufacturer who ever made a computer, tablet or phone will be liable for every thing ever made.
  • azathoth
    Legally, Microsoft is right.
    Their devices have 32GB of flash storage.

    However, with such weight of pre-installed applications leaving only 16GB of space that can be used, still advertising the device as 32GB of storage is certainly dishonorable.
    (Not that corporations have a problem with that.)
  • alevox
    Is there any kind of remedy in US courts that allows for penalties to be levied on frivolous lawsuits? No-one buys a phone, tablet or PC and expects the entire storage space to be available for their use, granted that Windows RT is far larger than Android or iOS, but it is no more misleading than any other PC maker.
  • wemakeourfuture
    All manufacturers advertise 1GB = 1,000,000,000 byes
    when in fact the actual storage on the machine considers 1GB = 2^30 bytes. That always gets people.

    Plus add formatting it gets reduced even further.

    Then we start to add the OS and most mobile devices it takes 1-2 gigs, but MS its closer to 10+ gigs.

    32GB Android/iOS will get you about 28GB free, with MS you get 16GB, but MS is charging 16GB price I suppose for their 32GB model...
  • jakes69
    MS should just format his hard drive...and show him that it's 32 gb. ;-)
  • Estix
    Poking around a bit, Andrew Sokolowski was a Senior Attorney at the firm that filed the class action suit over Facebook's IPO, so he's not just someone trying to make a name for himself.

    While I don't see the suit as having any merit (as the free space on the device is easily-obtained knowledge for anyone who read ANY review of it) I do think that, for a device intended for more serious use cases than angry birds, the Surface could certainly use more storage, especially given the tiny cost it would have added.

    Besides, Microsoft could have just had it start at 128 GB, and used that as a marketing thing.
  • bllue
    He's a lawyer and he didn't read the print where it says how much the OS, recovery image, etc take? This case will be thrown out
  • w1zz4
    Actually, since 2000, IEEE defined a Gigabyte as 10^9. 2^30 is a Gibibyte (Binary Gigabyte). But yeah everyone still use Gigabyte for 2^30.
  • jhansonxi
    Reminds me of those obesity lawsuits against McDonalds.
  • ThisIsMe
    A huge chunk of the storage space is used by the recovery tools. The OS does not actually take 10+ GB of space. Imagine that it has an entire Windows 8 installation DVD image saved on the device. And even though iOS might take up less space because of a lack of the recovery tools and many, many other features, when you try to use the over wifi update process for an iDevice it wants about 2GB of free space before it can procede. It needed more than 2.2 GB for this 3rd gen iPad I am posting this comment with. So yeah, I guess you could argue that iOS needs another 2+ GB on top of what it already uses in order to fully function. So yeah, I guess I am trying to say that some people will complain about anything and anyone can find something to complain about if they look hard enough.