Microsoft is being sued for false advertising of Surface tablet’s internal storage space

If you purchased a 32GB tablet, I’m sure you weren’t expecting exactly 32GB to store all your music, photos, and files. But I’m also sure you were expecting it to at least be around the neighborhood of 32GB. Maybe 30GB — 28GB even. What if you were only get half of that? Yes, that means 16GB for a “32GB” tablet. Would you be upset? I’m sure I would, and one Microsoft Surface customer is so upset that he’s decided to sue the company for misleading customers.

Andrew Sokolowski, who is a lawyer himself, has filed a lawsuit in California against Microsoft after running out of space on his Surface tablet. As dotTech reported earlier, while Microsoft is marketing these tablets as having storage capacities of 32GB and 64GB, the real-world amount is significantly less.

This is less of a problem on the 64GB, arguably, as the operating system takes up around 16GB — leaving the remaining 48GB for user consumption. But on the 32GB tablet, you’re left with only half of what you were seemingly promised. If Microsoft knows that the operating system would take up that much space, is it really right to still market it as a 32GB tablet when what you get is actually nowhere near that? If the PC industry trend is to be followed, then, yes, Microsoft is safe in doing so — this is an accepted practice for traditional computing and has been for years. However, we aren’t dealing with PCs here so what goes on in the PC world may not necessarily apply to tablets.

It should also be noted that Microsoft updated their website in early November (about a week after the tablets went on sale) to clarify how much free storage space actually comes with the Surface tablets. So how far Sokolowski’s legal attack will go is a toss-up. Still, from the standpoint of a consumer, it definitely is a bummer to get half of what you were expecting.

What do you think? Would you be upset? Does Microsoft have every right to do this? Let us know in the comments below!

[via Mashable, image via ABC News]

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  • Mike

    Maybe MS should send the plaintiff a 16GB microSD card to put into his tablet, to get him to shut up . . . .

    Having said this, yes, MS should not have been advertising its tablets at the larger capacities when so much of it was used up by the huge and mandatory OS.

  • mukhi

    well, although this storage shortage is disappointing but this is how it is; and i think this person is not going to win the case. if one OS device says it is 16 GB, it must be less than that, period (no matter how much less it is).
    and, compared to many other eqv. tabs, this has SD slot and USB connection; therefore, you still have storage options.

  • Seamus McSeamus

    16 GB seems huge for a tablet o/s! I think the o/s on my 16 GB iPad takes up about 3 GB; I would definitely be pissed if I bought a tablet and found that half my space was already gone.

    Everyone knows that you don’t get the amount of storage advertised on the packaging, but a 50% drop IMO warrants a more specific notation.

  • Frank

    @Skutner: I am not sure.
    Especially if they tried to do your argumentation. A tablet is no PC and in tablet market this is the very first device giving you /dramatically/ less than the advertised storage as usable space.
    People judge and compare a surface to an iPad (or Android), not to a desktop PC.
    And BTW: All people I know buy devices for the (needed) available storage size. Nobody needs/wants a 16GB bloatware-OS (which is nothing against Win, just it’s size). IMHO one had to have a very small penis to compensate if one bought a “64GB tablet” because there is 64GB in it and not because one needs more than 32GB storage space (my MP3 folder is 50 GB for instance, a single downsized movie >> 1GB),

  • Circle Walker


    Yeah, I agreed but the fact is that you only get 16gb out of it. On a 500 gb hard drive, it’s not a problem. You would get plenty of space free space after the OS files and everything. However, this thing is a tablet and space is precious. You don’t see the Nexus 7 advertised a 16 gb tablet but only get 8 gb as user-accessible. Or get 8 gb of free space in the 16 gb ipad. Users shouldn’t expected the full advertised space but may be 85-90% of it, not 50% (in the 32 gb case).

  • Skutner

    you’re a fool if you expect exactly 32gb of storage. they’re advertising the hard drive size not the free space you get

  • Shawn

    PC’s have done this for years… they advertise a 500GB HDD and you’ve got access to only 465GB then OS + pre-installed garbage brings that down another 10-30GB.

    I have no sympathy.

  • A simple solution would be to use an operating system and apps suite that uses a lot less storage. Mine uses less than 5 GB.