Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Surface storage not as advertised: suit

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

Andrew Sokolowski, a lawyer in Los Angeles, claims 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 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. 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 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."

It noted 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 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 his client never saw Microsoft's responses and said the details on its website are "buried."

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, right off the bat, consumers get about seven per cent 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 available storage further. A portion of the memory space is set aside to replace cells that wear out over time.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 15, 2012 B8

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