LA lawyer files suit against Microsoft over Surface storage capacity

By on November 16, 2012, 9:30 AM

Los Angeles-based lawyer Andrew Sokolowski has filed a suit against Microsoft due to the fact the company’s Surface RT tablet ships with less free space than advertised. The attorney believes Microsoft intentionally buried details about the actual amount of usable storage out of the box.

Sokolowski said he purchased a 32GB Surface RT tablet last week but ran out of storage space after loading some music and Word files onto it. After a bit of research, he realized that only 16GB of the claimed 32GB was on tap for him to use.

Lawyers representing him (lawyers representing a lawyer, weird, right?) are seeking class action status alleging false advertising and unfair business practices. The suit was filed earlier this week in the Superior Court in Los Angeles with the goal of getting Microsoft to change how they advertise the tablet’s capacity.

Microsoft released a statement on the matter saying that customers understand that the operating system and pre-installed applications reside on the device’s storage, effectively reducing the total free space. Redmond also pointed out that customers can add additional storage via the microSD card slot or through the USB port.

The company posted a FAQ on their website earlier this month outlining exactly how much free space each capacity tablet ships with. If you missed that post, here’s a quick refresher. The 32GB Surface RT has only 16GB of usable space with a fresh install of Windows while the 64GB model ships with 46GB of free space.




User Comments: 48

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lchu12 lchu12 said:

Not gonna win...if this case is successful, then it'll open a floodgate of lawsuits against HDD makers and PC manufacturers. Just my .02...

Guest said:

Not gonna win...if this case is successful, then it'll open a floodgate of lawsuits against HDD makers and PC manufacturers. Just my .02...

I agree. It has been that way in computer and phone for decades. I don't know why he thinks that it's new....

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Since when does "some music and Word files" equate to 16GBs of storage?

Gareis Gareis said:

Since when does "some music and Word files" equate to 16GBs of storage?

My thoughts exactly.

Guest said:

Just like the monitor size class action suit, in another 5 years Surface owners will get a check for $2.50 and MS will add 32 GB, 16 GB usable.

essi2 essi2 said:

Apple have been doing this for ages, if he MS loses this will probably have an impact on them as well as HDD and PC producers.

1 person liked this | Divvet said:

Not gonna win...if this case is successful, then it'll open a floodgate of lawsuits against HDD makers and PC manufacturers. Just my .02...

I agree. It has been that way in computer and phone for decades. I don't know why he thinks that it's new....

I don't understand how you think this.

If you are referring to when a manufacturer says a drive is 1tb but is actually 984gb then your completely wrong because that is not the case here. The drives here are 32 gb but 16 gb is used by the OS, which isn't advertised very well. Thats the point of this lawsuit. However you could still in theory remove Windows and reclaim the drive.

If that isn't what you meant however, do ignore me, but it is a bit shocking how M$ can create such a bloated OS in comparison to the other tablet OS sizes.

Cota Cota said:

No no no no, you guys are not getting it, what the lawyer says is that the 32GB crap, only comes whit 16 GB of free space, so the crap DOES comes whit 32GB in space, but 16 of those are used by the installation.

Although I do give the user reason since the marketing departments think a GB is 1000 MB and a MB is 1000 KB and so on , while the true is that is 1024 instead of 1000 :\ This is why iOS does displays the "correct" sizes in storage devices and Windows "lose" some space according tho the economics engineers [/sarcasm]

Teko03 said:

Not gonna win...if this case is successful, then it'll open a floodgate of lawsuits against HDD makers and PC manufacturers. Just my .02...

I agree. It has been that way in computer and phone for decades. I don't know why he thinks that it's new....

I don't understand how you think this.

If you are referring to when a manufacturer says a drive is 1tb but is actually 984gb then your completely wrong because that is not the case here. The drives here are 32 gb but 16 gb is used by the OS, which isn't advertised very well. Thats the point of this lawsuit. However you could still in theory remove Windows and reclaim the drive.

If that isn't what you meant however, do ignore me, but it is a bit shocking how M$ can create such a bloated OS in comparison to the other tablet OS sizes.

Actually the drive is 32GB, the "formatting" reduces this to 24.9GB (in the same way a 160GB drive would really be 149 GB). Then Windows RT, pre-installed apps (which can be removed) & "recovery" data collectively takes up another 8GB-9GB.

Guest said:

"If that isn't what you meant however, do ignore me, but it is a bit shocking how M$ can create such a bloated OS in comparison to the other tablet OS sizes."

It's not exactly a surprise. Windows 8 is pretty much just a desktop OS that is also optimized for tablet uses (also supporting ARM processors) which is why it's so large. Just take a look at how much space Windows 7 takes up.

Either way this whole litigation crap is just plain annoying. It seem nowadays there are so many reasons to sue.

treeski treeski said:

Then Windows RT, pre-installed apps (which can be removed) & "recovery" data collectively takes up another 8GB-9GB.

Keep in mind that the Office Suite cannot be uninstalled

JohnnyH JohnnyH said:

You can also move the recovery data to USB storage, then delete that recovery partition to get back more space too. In some other post, MS stated that he bought the Surface on Nov 7, but MS already posted info about the used spaces and available space for the Surface RT on website around Nov 5.

This guy is just a dumb lawyer.

Not gonna win...if this case is successful, then it'll open a floodgate of lawsuits against HDD makers and PC manufacturers. Just my .02...

I agree. It has been that way in computer and phone for decades. I don't know why he thinks that it's new....

I don't understand how you think this.

If you are referring to when a manufacturer says a drive is 1tb but is actually 984gb then your completely wrong because that is not the case here. The drives here are 32 gb but 16 gb is used by the OS, which isn't advertised very well. Thats the point of this lawsuit. However you could still in theory remove Windows and reclaim the drive.

If that isn't what you meant however, do ignore me, but it is a bit shocking how M$ can create such a bloated OS in comparison to the other tablet OS sizes.

Actually the drive is 32GB, the "formatting" reduces this to 24.9GB (in the same way a 160GB drive would really be 149 GB). Then Windows RT, pre-installed apps (which can be removed) & "recovery" data collectively takes up another 8GB-9GB.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Can you reasonably expect an "LA lawyer", to know anything other than the process of initiating frivolous lawsuits?

He probably bought that piece of crap with the intention of suing over it, not with the intention of actually using it.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Anyone want to help me round up all the lawyers in the LA area and toss em in a big pit and wait until they eat each other, or just seal it with concrete. Problem solved, no more lawsuit and the rest of the world who aren't complete ass hats can go on living a better life. "some music and Word files" translation, porn and other illegally downloaded video. Because 16GB of music is about 3000 songs, more than some, and word files? Right...

Littleczr Littleczr said:

I think is shady. And MS should just say something on the box that is 16gb usable. I'm on the side of the plaintiff.

1 person liked this | JudaZ said:

So you bought a device with 32GB storage.. .and you got a device with 32GB storage .. you are suing for what now? Being retarded?

Then you can sue every computer manufacturers out there that sell a device with an OS pre-installed.

Guest said:

What is shady?

The lawyer? That would be obvious.

Anything else regarding understanding available space vs. actual storage size has been common sense in the digital world for quite some time. This isn't about justice, its about ignorance and greed.

Guest said:

Let him sue...

That lawtard will have a quick education on facts... that indeed the said tablet has that much storage. It does not say free storage..

Secondly, lets not forget the ignorance of not understanding what a MicroSD drive it..

Lawyer dude is just a tard..

dms96960 said:

"Lawyers representing him (lawyers representing a lawyer, weird, right?) are seeking class action status alleging false advertising and unfair business practices."

Of course he is seeking class action status. For one of the most interesting reads in decades, see "Circle of Greed" by Patrick Dillon and Carl Cannon which traces the rise and fall of one of California's all-time scum lawyers, William Lerach, who, with the aid of certain judges, so rigged frivolous class action lawsuits that he cost consumers billions of dollars.

Camikazi said:

Not gonna win...if this case is successful, then it'll open a floodgate of lawsuits against HDD makers and PC manufacturers. Just my .02...

I agree. It has been that way in computer and phone for decades. I don't know why he thinks that it's new....

I don't understand how you think this.

If you are referring to when a manufacturer says a drive is 1tb but is actually 984gb then your completely wrong because that is not the case here. The drives here are 32 gb but 16 gb is used by the OS, which isn't advertised very well. Thats the point of this lawsuit. However you could still in theory remove Windows and reclaim the drive.

If that isn't what you meant however, do ignore me, but it is a bit shocking how M$ can create such a bloated OS in comparison to the other tablet OS sizes.

Actually the drive is 32GB, the "formatting" reduces this to 24.9GB (in the same way a 160GB drive would really be 149 GB). Then Windows RT, pre-installed apps (which can be removed) & "recovery" data collectively takes up another 8GB-9GB.

32GB formatted would show up as about 29GB not 25GB.

Denooon said:

I would agree with a lawyer, 50% of your HDD it is a way to much to get away with, 10% 20% it is acceptable. MS should change it to 16 Gb in my opinion.

ghasmanjr ghasmanjr said:

I have an Asus Infinity tablet with 32gb of internal storage, of which only 29 is usable. This is a MUCH big difference than 32gb of internal storage, of which only 16 is usable. I understand what he's getting at. I was pretty disappointed that the Surface (and Asus Vivotab) come with a crap amount of free space. You'd think that a tablet OS would be optimized. Leave it to Microsoft to leave an OS with extra....fat *coughvistacough*

Camikazi said:

No no no no, you guys are not getting it, what the lawyer says is that the 32GB crap, only comes whit 16 GB of free space, so the crap DOES comes whit 32GB in space, but 16 of those are used by the installation.

Although I do give the user reason since the marketing departments think a GB is 1000 MB and a MB is 1000 KB and so on , while the true is that is 1024 instead of 1000 :\ This is why iOS does displays the "correct" sizes in storage devices and Windows "lose" some space according tho the economics engineers [/sarcasm]

A GB actually is 1000MB 1024MiB equals a GiB which is not the same thing, the total space comes out to be the same but HDD makers just like to use round numbers. Those round numbers also end up making the total number look bigger (1TB is equal to 931GiB).

JudaZ said:

I would agree with a lawyer, 50% of your HDD it is a way to much to get away with, 10% 20% it is acceptable. MS should change it to 16 Gb in my opinion.

So Microsoft should put wrong facts on the packaging because this lawyer is an *****?

The Surface has 32GB,of storage, not 16GB

RH00D RH00D said:

Windows isn't really that bloated... You can do a full Windows 7 64-bit installation on a 10 GB hard drive with 1 GB free space left over (Try it in a virtual machine). Also, this takes up a lot of space because on the back-end it's a full operating system with massive amounts of expandability, a huge feature set, and lots of customization. On the front-end it may look like a "mobile OS" but on the back-end it's way ahead of it's competitors in terms of capability.

Guest said:

I think this is hilarious...

Why doesnt he sue Apple, for not allowing MicroSD on any of their devices.. Apple's ecosystem of DRM is actually monopolistic. This guy is in collusion with Apple.. cuz the glaring fact is it has moAr than 32Gb of storage.. it has more than 64GB of storage.. if that is your need.

Iluustration:

Two albums one bought @ store, the other thru apple store. I can use the bought copy on anything, the Apple copy only on Apple devices.. & only a few copies. DRM is a scam to protect

Apple's own ecosystem.. all illegal per Federal Law.

All media.. has the same rights. No copy of medium, will have different rules based on point of purchase.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I would agree with a lawyer, 50% of your HDD it is a way to much to get away with, 10% 20% it is acceptable. MS should change it to 16 Gb in my opinion.
The "Surface Tablet", probably doesn't use any more default storage space than a typical desktop. The trouble is people are used to HDD, rather than SSD. The average desktop ships with maybe a 500GB HDD. 16GB used, is a drop in the bucket.

Now, in the case of a tablet, you're paying for flash memory, in a specialty item. So, how "cool" you want to be, depends on your ability to pay for it.

Nowadays, this seems to have become a cost vs. how badly you feel the need to brag about your boot times issue. (Which is getting tedious people). Plus the fact, everybody thinks it's Windows 8 giving you the fast boots, and generally ignoring the 90% of the credit that the SSD deserves.

The simple fact of the matter is, like so many other lawyers who initiate this type of suit, this guy is a parasite. As for getting this turned into a "class action suite", that would be success beyond his wildest dreams. He'll stands the chance of pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, and the people who sign on with him, (such as yourself(?)), will get a check cut for fifty cents, provided that he wins. I wouldn't be surprised if this is a personal moonlight project, from an RIAA / MPAA leech. Or at the very least, someone who has studied their methods.

ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

I really hope Microsoft losses this one. I love Windows 8, and the Surface is really cool to use, but this isn't okay.

Guest said:

ReederOnTheRun said:

I really hope Microsoft losses this one. I love Windows 8, and the Surface is really cool to use, but this isn't okay.

lol, you love windows 8 but you want microsoft to loss?

did you know that windows 8 consumes ~16gb or more drive space?

(windows installation + hiberfil.sys + pagefile.sys + swapfile.sys)

drive space consumed by surface should also be similar.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I really hope Microsoft losses this one. I love Windows 8, and the Surface is really cool to use, but this isn't okay.
Why don't you just do what you're supposed to do in the first place, quit complaining, and buy the damned 64GB version?

The "Surface" has at least one USB port, that's not quite where I think this lawyer should stick his external hard drive, but it would be a start.

Camikazi said:

I really hope Microsoft losses this one. I love Windows 8, and the Surface is really cool to use, but this isn't okay.

If MS loses this I see more lawsuits coming against every single computer (phone, tablet, mp3, camera, camcorder, etc) company and HDD maker there is and that is not a good thing. The only difference here is the amount lost is more visible but it is not new and has been the case since almost the beginning of computers.

dcnc123 dcnc123 said:

Every IT person knows this.... too bad he did not do his research before buying...

Ultraman1966 said:

In fairness, if I bought a 32GB device I'd expect about 20GB of space or at least more than half to be available. But, as space is expandable via microsd card then I don't see what the problem.

ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

Its not about legality or software design, its about advertising what the customers will actually be getting. Its a moral issue. They came up with a great product, it'd just be a shame if they lost their customer's confidence in them just to cover up the actual storage capacity.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Microsoft is not the source of this issue. I don't see the law-suit gaining any ground, but then I could be wrong once again.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Its not about legality or software design, its about advertising what the customers will actually be getting. Its a moral issue. They came up with a great product, it'd just be a shame if they lost their customer's confidence in them just to cover up the actual storage capacity.

So, maybe if the lawsuit is a success, M$ will be forced to ship the "Surface" with the SSD unformatted, and no OS installed. YOU WIN!

Or, as an alternative, M$ could be forced to put a patent statement of the blatantly obvious warning label on the side of the package..."Cigarettes are known to cause lug cancer" .

You really don't have to have a degree in computer science to know that add-in SD storage has been a mainstay of extra cell phone storage capacity for many years (*). Nor do you have to be an IT specialist to know that there hasn't been a computer sold with the full amount of the HDD's rated capacity available. That's pretty much one of the first, primal questions a customer asks the salesman.

But you're absolutely correct, this is a moral issue. IMHO, this lawyer is a typical sociopath, shyster, and a parasite. And you don't have to go much deeper into the morality issue than that. And I don't picture this particular solicitor being above suing his coke dealer for damage to his septum.....:eek:

(*) And even with no OS on a 4GB card, you don't get 4GB of storage.

dennis777 dennis777 said:

Not all people are techy... if they saw 32GB on the box they assume it has 32gb of free space... this might apply to tablet or phone only?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Not all people are techy... if they saw 32GB on the box they assume it has 32gb of free space... this might apply to tablet or phone only?
I expect that a least a decent percentage of people buying these tablets will have experience with storage measurements as they apply to the family desktop.

The best consumer protection, is self education. An educated consumer would immediately understand the discrepancy between gross and net storage capacity. After which, the intelligent way forward would be to make a decision whether or not to purchase the upgrade to the 64GB model, or establish a viable strategy regarding the tablet, and external storage devices. You can't take your entire Blu-Ray collection with you on an iPad, and you can't with a surface either.

ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

So, maybe if the lawsuit is a success, M$ will be forced to ship the "Surface" with the SSD unformatted, and no OS installed. YOU WIN!

Or, as an alternative, M$ could be forced to put a patent statement of the blatantly obvious warning label on the side of the package..."Cigarettes are known to cause lug cancer" .

You really don't have to have a degree in computer science to know that add-in SD storage has been a mainstay of extra cell phone storage capacity for many years (*). Nor do you have to be an IT specialist to know that there hasn't been a computer sold with the full amount of the HDD's rated capacity available. That's pretty much one of the first, primal questions a customer asks the salesman.

But you're absolutely correct, this is a moral issue. IMHO, this lawyer is a typical sociopath, shyster, and a parasite. And you don't have to go much deeper into the morality issue than that. And I don't picture this particular solicitor being above suing his coke dealer for damage to his septum.....:eek:

(*) And even with no OS on a 4GB card, you don't get 4GB of storage.

Uhhh, or they could just say how much space it actually has available on it? Crazy I know, but hey, I'm a pretty radical thinker.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Uhhh, or they could just say how much space it actually has available on it? Crazy I know, but hey, I'm a pretty radical thinker.
Well dude, you should look this guy up, and sue because your desktop doesn't have the rated storage capacity either.

There's a purely practical side to this. The OS and apps in a Surface tablet don't take up anymore room than they would on a desktop. SSDs are way more expensive than HDDs. So, isn't this a frivolous lawsuit started simply because people really want to be cool, and have a tablet computer, but can't afford the price of admission if the storage quantity were increased? So you sue because you're broke, is pretty much how that breaks down..

The Apple iPad has the flash modules hard soldered to the mainboard. That leaves no upgrade path for a larger "drive". So, you want this thin, flat, flashy nonsense, you should concomitantly get used to its limitations and shortcomings

To the upside, the world needs more, "radical thinkers", as there must be a windmill left somewhere that hasn't been treated to a good, thorough, tilting...

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I think the situation isn't that different on other platforms, e.g. on SGS3 I only have about 11.1GB available out of 16GB. So, why haven't anyone taken other OEMs to task as well?

Pan Wah said:

This isn't a legal issue, just a trivial technical one - if you remove the OS & perform a low-level format, there should be loads of space

PS Warning in anticipation of suit:- not entirely serious

Guest said:

Although I'm not 100% with that lawyer, I kind of see his point. The marketing of the Surface is a bit shady....LOOK for $599 you get a WHOPPING 32GB of memory BUY IT NOW!!!!....and then in tiny print hidden somewhere way down where you can't see it without a magnifying glass "but you really only get use 16GB of free storage (sucker).

Guest said:

Microsoft does NOT claim to have 32GB (or 64GB) of free space, but to have 32gb of storage.

Which it does...

So, nobody can help it, if this lawyer is a turd.

/end of story

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I think the situation isn't that different on other platforms, e.g. on SGS3 I only have about 11.1GB available out of 16GB. So, why haven't anyone taken other OEMs to task as well?
Why anybody is attaching any gravity or significance to an article with the caption, "LA lawyer sues", is a much more profound and perplexing question...!

LA lawyers sue large corporations, or defend Mexican drug cartels. Riddle solved.

Guest said:

Forcing ALL companies to be hones about actual capacity for user content is not a ad thing.

Yes us techies know the score but more and more clueless granny types are getting these devices and they lak this education.

Lunchfriggenbox Lunchfriggenbox said:

Ummm this guy is an ***** it states that the operating system takes up 16gb on the box...

dennis777 dennis777 said:

I expect that a least a decent percentage of people buying these tablets will have experience with storage measurements as they apply to the family desktop.

The best consumer protection, is self education. An educated consumer would immediately understand the discrepancy between gross and net storage capacity. After which, the intelligent way forward would be to make a decision whether or not to purchase the upgrade to the 64GB model, or establish a viable strategy regarding the tablet, and external storage devices. You can't take your entire Blu-Ray collection with you on an iPad, and you can't with a surface either.

almost 50% discrepancy on storage is a bit large not to be notice versus a few missing GB. Still a simple label in the box or advertisement would not hurt."battery not included" "each sold separately".

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

almost 50% discrepancy on storage is a bit large not to be notice versus a few missing GB. Still a simple label in the box or advertisement would not hurt."battery not included" "each sold separately".

I disagree.

Consumers need to learn what it is they are paying for, labeling the box will not help. There is not enough box real-estate to define what is in each and every box.

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