Lawyer sues Microsoft for not telling him the Surface had only 16GB of available storage

Lawyer sues Microsoft for not telling him the Surface had only 16GB of available storage
Andrew Sokolowski is a lawyer who lives and works in Los Angeles. He recently decided to buy himself one of them Microsoft Surface tablets – a 32GB model, to be more specific, and venture into the world of Windows RT tablets. Little did he know that he was about to run out of storage space a lot faster than he assumed – right after loading a bunch of documents and media files onto his brand new tablet.

That's when he discovered that the actual user-available storage on the Microsoft Surface tablet is significantly less than what is written on its specs sheet. In particular, he had only about 16 gigs at his disposal, instead of the 32 gigabytes he expected to have. That's an issue that we wrote about a few days ago, and the main reason behind it is that the Windows RT operating system along with the Microsoft Office software package take up about 13GB of space.

Needless to say, Sokolowski wasn't happy about all this, which is why on Tuesday, his lawyers took legal action against Microsoft for false advertising. The purpose of the lawsuit is to compensate users who were also affected by the issue and to change the way Microsoft advertises its Surface tablet.

However, there is no guarantee that the demands of Sokolowski and his team of lawyers will be met. That's because the Microsoft Surface is not an exception  – every smartphone and every tablet, regardless of its make and model, provides the user with less space than advertised because the operating system and software it comes with already occupy quite a few megabytes. But on the other hand, while an iOS or Android device need only about 1GB for their system files, the 13GB occupied by Windows RT and Microsoft Office seem outrageous. 

What is your take on this, guys? Should Microsoft make it clear that the Surface tablet has a lot less user-available storage than advertised? Or is Microsoft doing nothing wrong in this case? Join the discussion down in the comments!

Related phones

Surface RT
  • Display 10.6" 1366 x 768 pixels
  • Camera 1 megapixel
  • Processor NVIDIA Tegra 3 T30, Quad-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB



1. Raymond_htc

Posts: 430; Member since: Apr 06, 2012

HAHAHAHAHAHA... That lawyer is such a newbie. His sue against microsoft is a lose- a No brainer can guess it. How can one man fight against a technology Giant?

7. Topcat488

Posts: 1416; Member since: Sep 29, 2012

Isn't all of us in some way or another a noob, especially in this perpetual innovative tech market... But 1GB of system file to 13GB of system file only shows how unnecessary complicated MS makes their system files. "I think he has a chance of winning". 13GB's is too much of a difference.

29. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

I think a new system in space management is's not the lawyer's nor Microsoft's fault. Whatever platform it may be, i think it should be mandatory for the devices to have 16 GB free internal space if it is the 16 GB version and 32 for the 32 GB version and vice versa. And should add on a separate storage for the OS and system files except for the applications and stuffs!!


Posts: 4851; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

Hahaha really good news. Good luck Lawer.

24. Angkor

Posts: 108; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

Don't buy Surface buy Samsung Nexus 10 is the best Android tablet in the world.

27. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

@Angkor not everyone wants an Android tablet.

39. MC1123

Posts: 1256; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

absolutely right!!! +100000000000000000000!!!! but i like the nexus 10 though!

28. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

What a whiner. I hope Microsoft will just give him a MicroSD card and tell him to STFU. That said, I don't think he has a case. It's advertised as having a 32GB hard drive, not 32GB of usable space. It also has (as noted) several expandable memory options, which, if I had a Surface, I would use to keep the hard drive free as much as I could.

2. wendygarett unregistered

The lawyer should read the phonearena article... Pa has mentioned this statement tho... I do love surface but I don't trust ms marketing gimmick lol

3. edgabimbam unregistered

he will win for sure.... Don't you remember like apple got penalty for false advertising of ipad with 4g or something like that, at Australia?

32. ChiX017

Posts: 308; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

Yeah because they falsely advertised, every phone/tablet buyer knows you don't get the exact memory thats written. What is stated is the total memory on the device not the actual memory available to you. This is a no brainer.

37. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Apple was advertising it as 4G when Australia doesn't recognize LTE as 4G (and I'm not sure they had LTE at the time), hence the issue.

4. gothicheart

Posts: 83; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

how can someone be as stupid, and a lawyer at that. Yes, there is storage space, but there is storage. It's just a matter of simple math. When you have storage space and something is stored inside, you would have less space. Even a 5-year old would be able to understand that.... tsk tsk

8. crankyd00d

Posts: 191; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

I would say you're the stupid one for believing for a second that lawyer didn't really know, he saw a chance and he took it, just the way lawyers do, besides, 16GB out of the advertised 32GB IS outrageous whether you know about computers or not

13. gothicheart

Posts: 83; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

and how old are you, 2? and how stupid can you get, then why not just remove everything on the memory, then you can have everything as advertised. And no, he will never win, coz ms did make a statement about this before they even released this, they even reported this here in phonearena. You want me to release the ip address that you're using right now here, then we'll know if I know anything about computers or not

14. crankyd00d

Posts: 191; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Don't get so mad, it's not my fault you're incredibly naive kid, I didn't mean that YOU didn't know about computers, I meant PEOPLE IN GENERAL, I know a little bit, though not as much as you obviously with all those IP releasing skills you have. Even though it's a stretch, I would like the lawyer to win so these companies start advertising real usable storage, since it looks like the use of exclusively internal storage is the new fad for these manufacturers and, I will say it again, I believe advertising 32GB and having HALF of that is unacceptable.

16. gothicheart

Posts: 83; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

oh wel, whatever suits you. As for me, can't wait to get my hand on these. Then just remove the stuff on the memory I don't need. And as for the other things that I will be able to use, im glad that that they're all in there to save me the trouble so I won't have to get it myself. And yes, those stuff that are in there are what made this different from all the tablets out there, and not a toy. Is there any other tablet that you can connect an external hard drive to?

19. crankyd00d

Posts: 191; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

My Xoom and Nexus 7 can use external storage, add and app and they can also use NTFS. It has worked really well for me, for movies, music, photos, books, etc., they do need the bigger drives to be powered externally though, but they can use card readers and USB keys just fine

26. gothicheart

Posts: 83; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

you're right, the xoom and nexus 7 are good tablets, probably the best out there. but the surface is just on a different level. As i've said, i want something that has the desktop experience on a tablet form. Almost any phone can use card readers and usb keys, had that even on my n8 already.

5. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

That's what he gets for not going for a review of the surface tablet first before buying it. Microsoft shouldn't worry about this

12. tango_charlie

Posts: 347; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

Not everybody has the time to read through all of the reviews on the Internet. If I weren't a tech interested person I would also think that the 32GB Surface would have 25-29GB of usable storage, since all Ipad's, Droid's and even WindowsPhone's have almost 80% of usable storage and not just 50%. It's common knowledge getting 10-20% less storage and not 50%.

6. ahomad

Posts: 175; Member since: May 15, 2012

what do you expect to get, $10 per surface sold? take it or get a refund, thats it

9. Raymond_htc

Posts: 430; Member since: Apr 06, 2012

Well 16 GB is big enough.... but if its paying for the price of a 32 GB model and you get 16 GB, i would sue em for scamming... Microsoft is getting worse....

30. rsxl5

Posts: 65; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

16GB is not enough for me (8GB e-mail database + other docs and it's gone). 32GB, could live with that but hardly. As, mentioned before by somebody it's way too much ; I would expect 4-6GB tops gone for OS and software I use but 13GB for OS and Office is way too much to advertise it as 32GB. Even if hiberfil.sys and pagefile.sys are included (if this files still exist in W8) it's still misinforming end user (or even worse hiding facts from the end user that doesn't have to have such knowledge). Thanks for that news, now I know that even if I go for W8 it can't be nothing less than 64GB. After 17 years with Windows and first time reading about W8 I started to have thoughts to move to Linux. Might be the time to do so :)

10. Tones

Posts: 77; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

Understandable. Shouldnt advertise 32gb when theres only around half that available. I know its the same for other manufacturers / gadgets, but they too should also only advertise what the user has available to them.

31. rsxl5

Posts: 65; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

The difference is that as far as I know other manufacturer's occupied storage space is about 10-20% and that is unavoidable but can be understand and accepted. But not 50% of what you're promised to get.

11. tango_charlie

Posts: 347; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

Getting 10-20% less flash storage than advertised is acceptable and common in the tech world, but in this case we are taking about almost 50% less space! The usable storage should be clearly declared on the packing, so that the consumer is aware of this factor.

15. metoyou

Posts: 279; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

One stupid lawyer Case closed... Next!

17. osmaankhaan unregistered

Good move by the lawyer I appreciate it. Only 16gb user usable in a 32gb model is ridiculous. I wonder how much free memory is available for user in 16gb, 1gb or no memory at all. BTW he is a lawyer himself he knows what he's doing.

18. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

You can understand pissed customers who see Windows (and not "mobile Windows") ads and buy a product of laptop price with huge SW limitations and 1/20 storage space.

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