Microsoft commits to Surface, offers 4.5 years of support

By on November 26, 2012, 5:30 PM

If you've refrained from buying a Surface tablet due to fears it would disappear like The Kin, then it may now be time to reconsider. It appears Surface RT tablet owners will receive four and a half years of "mainstream" support from Microsoft -- or at least that's what the company indicates in its recently updated hardware support policy terms.

Although nearly five years of support is in-line with Microsoft's typical Windows lifecycle guidelines, the policy also takes it one step further: those five years include the device itself -- yep, the hardware too. This is an unusual amount of time for gadget maker support since products so frequently launch, disappear and change. By comparison, Apple's original iPad was dropped from its iOS release schedule merely 2.5 years after being launched.

Although Surface owners are slated to receive a long period of support, don't confuse the word "support" for "warranty". Surface RT tablets come standard with a one-year warranty. "Support" here merely translates to software/firmware updates and a ready supply of technical assistance, services and parts. Longer warranties can be purchased though, like Microsoft Complete which promises two-years of coverage and protection from accidental damage for $99.

Microsoft's policy states that hardware repairs, replacements and parts will be available during its support lifecycle, but owners outside of their warranty periods will be subject to fees and charges for such repairs. This is no surprise, of course, but the important thing here is Microsoft is doubling down on Surface: it is committing itself to support the product for more than four years. This should be welcome news for anyone afraid of Surface turning out to be a fly-by-night experiment.

Despite Surface RT's newfound confidence, Surface Pro remains a mystery; however, we can be relatively certain that the Pro version will receive the same treatment, if not better -- Microsoft's business software receives an extra five years of support, typically. It'll be interesting to see if this translates to Surface as well.

While one-year warranties are nothing short of industry-standard in the U.S, some have noted that Microsoft's policy might land itself into more trouble with EU regulators. Many European countries require manufacturers to offer warranty periods in excess of a single year -- something that Microsoft doesn't seem to be doing at the moment.




User Comments: 7

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misor misor said:

Since windows surface rt is arm-based, the hardware upgrade path is limited; a user can add a (micro)sd card for extra storage but no arm processor upgrade.

maybe a windows surface pro user can choose to upgrade processor (after the warranty expires) which will make the sturdy windows surface pro a better device at the beginning and in the long run.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If you've refrained from buying a Surface tablet due to fears it would disappear like The Kin
As far as I'm concerned Microsoft is burning a bridge with Windows 7 support. I couldn't care less what kind of commitment they give Windows Surface. I bought Windows 7 not Windows surface. I'm not going to expect any better support out of their next line of products.

Chazz said:

If you've refrained from buying a Surface tablet due to fears it would disappear like The Kin
As far as I'm concerned Microsoft is burning a bridge with Windows 7 support. I couldn't care less what kind of commitment they give Windows Surface. I bought Windows 7 not Windows surface. I'm not going to expect any better support out of their next line of products.

Out of curiosity, what negative support did you experience? Or are you referring to no service pack 2?

Guest said:

Or was it Microsoft's decision to not put out Direct X 11.1 for it?

Guest said:

Or that you can not find it in stores anymore.

OortCloud said:

It's a really bad sign when a product just released is already talking about how long it will be supported. Unhappy times at Microsoft!

Guest said:

M$ has support? I thought once you forget you password you're most likely screwed.

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