While it was previously unknown just how long Microsoft would support the Surface, Ed Bott for ZDNet notes that the company has since updated its product lifecycle page to confirm that support for the tablet will be provided for at least the next four years. According to the Microsoft product lifestyle chart, the Surface with Windows RT will be supported until April 11, 2017, which is just under four-and-a-half years from now.
Microsoft typically supports its Windows software for five years, with extended support available for businesses, although the Surface tablet is considered a hardware-software combo and will get slightly shorter mainstream support and no extended coverage whatsoever. Nevertheless, four plus years of support seems very generous when considering that the original iPad, released in early 2010, is already incompatible with the latest iOS 6 software update.
It appears that a minimum four years of mainstream support will be provided for all of Microsoft’s consumer hardware products, as per its updated Support Lifecycle Policy. The policy notes that “hardware repairs or replacements and parts are available throughout the [mainstream] support lifecycle. Services are free for products under warranty and available for a fee for products out of warranty.”
Additionally, “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).” This means that the Surface with Windows RT should receive firmware updates until at least April 2017.
Microsoft manufacturing partners have already released a number of different tablets and devices that also use the Windows RT operating system, although the Redmond-based corporation has yet to clarify just how long the software itself will be supported. With most Windows software getting a standard five years of support, however, it’s likely that Windows RT will fall under that same umbrella.