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Microsoft faces class action lawsuit over the Surface’s lack of usable memory

Surface tablet microsoft windows 8Microsoft is being sued for false advertising and unfair business practices by a Californian individual, who discovered his new 32GB Surface tablet had only 16GB of useable storage memory.

One of the early surprises concerning the basic Surface tablet was that it had twice the storage capacity of the basic Apple iPad — however it has since transpired that Windows RT, Office and all the other little things Microsoft installs on the tablet, take up half of this memory.

Andrew Sokolowski, a lawyer, purchased a Surface and after filling it with music and documents, discovered only 16GB of memory was his to use. Sokolowski and his lawyers are hitting Microsoft with a class action suit, with the hope they can alter the way it advertises the Surface’s memory.

An attorney on the case, the fabulously named Rhett Francisco, told the LA Times the lawsuit is about “protecting consumers as we head into the holiday shopping season.” That report also states that Sokolowski isn’t asking for damages, but does want a refund on the tablet.

Microsoft says case is “without merit”

Microsoft has addressed the issue of the Surface’s free memory on its website — as do many other manufacturers, as there’s always a discrepancy between advertised space and real space — but there’s no denying that Windows RT is particularly greedy.

The lawyers are also arguing that Microsoft has hidden the information, saying the company “makes you search and dig for it specifically, or you would never find it.”

Speaking to CNet, a Microsoft spokesperson said “we believe this lawsuit is without merit, as customers understand the operating system and pre-installed applications reside on the device’s internal storage, thereby reducing the total free space.”

The lawsuit does sound a little opportunistic, as Microsoft makes it clear how much free memory there is inside the Surface, and the concept of this being less than advertised is nothing new. Thanks to the Surface’s microSD card slot and ability to run external hard drives, owners can do something about it too, which isn’t the case with the iPad.

There’s a chance it may have to make it clearer on the Surface’s packaging though, and in the worst cases, offer compensation to those who feel particularly wronged, as the situation recalls Apple’s problems after it listed every new iPad as “4G,” regardless of where it was sold. This caused confusion amongst consumers in regions where no 4G network was available, and resulted in Apple altering its advertising and offering refunds on the device.