One Los Angeles man is a little frustrated with the storage space on the Microsoft Surface. So much so, in fact, that he’s suing the company for false advertising and unfair business practices.

Yes, he’s a lawyer.

Andrew Sokolowski loaded music and documents onto his newly-purchased Surface, he realized that he had run out of space. He then found out that even though Microsoft lists 32 gigabytes of storage on its new tablet, 16 gigabytes of that are used for the operating system and pre-installed apps.

His response? Sokolowski has retained his own lawyers and they are seeking class action status at the Superior Court in Los Angeles. His lawyers want to compel Microsoft to change the way it advertises the Surface, and give back profits resulting from the false advertising.

On the main specs webpage, Microsoft lists the storage space as 32GB for the entry-level Surface. However, on its Surface FAQ page, the company clarifies that there is actually only 16GB of free hard disk space.

Previously on GeekWire: Surface Diary: Microsoft’s tablet finds a home in our house

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  • mike

    Sad that this guy even has a law degree

  • Guest

    Baseless. I’m not a lawyer, but even I understand that a product has a hard drive that is more than 0% full out of the box.

  • Andrew me

    Sad, but i think they should give him a free sd card to quietly go away, possibly give every surface owner one if they request it.

  • Thomas R.

    I understand where this person is coming from. It’s like if someone sold you a 5 passenger car but 2 out of the 5 seats are not usable. If you advertise a 32GB, a reasonable consumer would expect something close to 32GB of space. Taking up half with the OS is a little much. Especially since the tablet only works with OS (otherwise it’s a really expensive paperweight).

    Though I must say the fact that you can use SD cards with the Surface would solve most storage issues relatively inexpensively. However, that is fundamentally different from the issue that this person is suing for, which is more related to how the product is marketed.

    • GG002

      The Windows installation on my Surface currently takes up 8GB of the total memory (btw, that space gone you’re talking about isn’t only due to OS!), so I’m actually blaming the user if they don’t have as much space as they would like, since they’re keeping Office 2013 and any preloaded apps.

    • guest

      No, it’s more like someone sold you a “5 passenger” car, just like cars have always been sold, but for some unknown reason you thought the engine compartment could be used as extra passenger seating instead.

      MS specifies exactly how much space is available to the user after OS, Office, and the onboard recovery. If a lawyer of all people was too stupid to read the details, he has no one to blame but himself. And yes, he should be using the SD card for what he’s trying to do.

      • guest2

        That’s some trickery you are using here. If you use the engine analogy then what Microsoft did was to advertise as a “7 passenger” car but then said in fine print – “lo siento amigo, but two seats are taken by the engine.” I am no lawyer and have not actually bought the tablet but I’ll admit I was also under impression that these were 32 and 64 Gig devices. I would think that OS would take up to 10%. Everything else is false advertising.

        • guest

          They are 32 and 64GB devices. And the OS doesn’t take just 10% of that, just as OSX doesn’t on an MBA.

    • taixzo

      I can see where the misunderstanding would be. On an Android tablet, the OS is often installed on a separate internal memory, leaving the full 16 or 32 GB free for files. Whereas with the Surface, Microsoft is putting everything in the same place.

  • guest
  • Forrest Corbett

    Keep in mind a Test Manager for Surface RT had previously stated that even with OfficeRT and “a bunch of apps”, users would still have “more than 20GB”.

    • guest

      A test manager is hardly the definitive source of info for a product, any more than some part-timer at an Apple retail outlet is.

    • 9to5quack

      Keep in mind some things you won’t read on that gold standard of neutral technology reporting: 9to5mac. Surface comes preconfigured with a standalone recovery partition should something go wrong when you’re, um, mobile – unlike iPad. That’s great to have. If you don’t want that protection, you can free up 4GB of space by deleting it and making a bootable USB backup instead, because it allows you to natively access the file system and has a USB port – unlike iPad. . You know have WinRT, Office, and “a bunch of apps” and 20GB free – or nearly exactly what the test manager said. Of course you can further expand storage by simply buying an SD card and inserting it in the native SD slot – unlike iPad. Or take advantage of the 7GB of cloud storage that comes standard via SkyDrive – unlike iPad.

      • Forrest Corbett

        I’m not comparing it to the iPad, simply providing reference to what a manager at MS previously said vs what the MS site says, as cited above.

  • Guest

    Wait, these have hard drives?

  • Jason Farris

    Windows RT does not take 16gb, it’s around 7gb. Did he expect it to take no space at all?

  • James McClintock

    Microsoft has really misled a lot of people about space on its hard drive. I tried to order a surface and my wife was put on hold for forty minutes as she gave information to some one in the Phillipienes. My wife is a very easy going person but the treatment she got from Microsoft was way beyond rude. I am 72 and I thought Surface would be a good thing to try. Microsoft could not spell my name or address and the bank stopped card use for suspected fraud. I had to call the bank just to let them know I was trying to use my card. What a rude and I could care less support group.

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