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Microsoft hit by lawsuit over Surface storage space

A California-based lawyer is suing Microsoft for not providing the advertised amount of storage space on its Surface tablet.

Andrew Sokolowski filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court after discovering that his 32GB Surface tablet did not actually allow users to load 32GB worth of content. About half of the tablet's storage is consumed by pre-loaded apps.

"Mr. Sokolowski's lawsuit against Microsoft is about protecting consumers as we head into the holiday shopping season," Sokolowski's lawyer, Rhett Francisco, announced in a statement. "Microsoft is misrepresenting the storage capacity and capabilities of its Surface tablet, and consumers should know about it."

Francisco said Sokolowski is not asking for damages. "We have only asked that Microsoft correct its unlawful practices by providing consumers with notice of the true characteristics of the Surface tablets and that Microsoft refund profits from sales it obtained as a result of misrepresenting the characteristics of its Surface tablets."

A Microsoft spokeswoman said "this lawsuit 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," she said. "Surface with Windows RT customers benefit from the ability to attach additional storage via the integrated microSD slot or full-size USB port."

Francisco, however, claims this is deceptive. "The consumer is going to be forced to upgrade the Surface tablet by buying a peripheral device that expands the Surface's memory to what the consumer initially thought he or she purchased in the first place. That's simply unfair to consumers, that's a violation of the law, and Microsoft knows it."

Tech-savvy shoppers are likely aware of the storage constraints on their modern-day gadgets. If you buy a new 16GB iPhone, for example, you won't get all 16GB for your apps and music. My 16GB iPhone 5 is currently using 9.2GB of storage, but I only have 4.2GB of available space, or 13.4GB in total. The same applies to other smartphones, tablets, and PCs on the market today.

Microsoft has an FAQ on its website about the Surface storage space, but Francisco said it is not easily accessible. "The alleged notice is actually intentionally buried by Microsoft deep within their website, under the 'Support' section," he said.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Sokolowski has a solo practice in Los Angeles that focuses on "protecting consumers' and employees' rights."