Microsoft pledges four-year support for Surface RT
By Stewart Mitchell
Posted on 26 Nov 2012 at 10:04
Microsoft has said it will support its Surface with Windows RT for at least four years.
In an update to its official support pages spotted by ZDNet, the company said the Surface tablet running Windows RT would be supported until 11 April 2017.
The news will be welcomed by cautious shoppers and businesses who want to know the products they are buying will be covered by upgrades into the future - regardless of how successful the tablet is for Microsoft.
Although the support falls short of the company's usual five-year plans for consumer software - with businesses getting an additional five years - the hardware-software combination means the Surface plays by different rules.
Hardware repairs or replacements and parts are available throughout the support lifecycle
The company updated its hardware policy, saying faults would also be addressed for at least four years.
"Hardware repairs or replacements and parts are available throughout the support lifecycle. Services are free for products under warranty and available for a fee for products out of warranty," Microsoft said.
"Updates are available for the software/firmware and OS that is embedded into the hardware (except for Surface devices, which is covered by the support lifecycle policy for the operating system on the device)."
However, it remains unclear exactly how long the Windows RT software will be supported on other devices made by rival manufacturers.
Although the expectation is that as a consumer-focused OS, Windows RT will be supported for the usual five years, the company said only that: "Microsoft will make software updates, including security updates, available for Windows RT. Additional information regarding the Windows RT lifecycle policy will be communicated as available."
Still, the policy is in stark contrast to Apple, where the original iPad launched in 2010 is already outside the window for support, and receives no updates even for security-related issues.
Google, too, has a history of leaving orphan devices as it upgrades the Android OS and Microsoft's plans could make it more attractive to admins that need to justify corporate investment in tablets.
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