Microsoft scratches Surface device policy – some get extensions of up to 6 years
See? It's not just Chromebooks. Now how about some flexibility around Win 10?
Microsoft will offer driver and firmware updates for its Surface devices for an additional two years, claiming the decision is in response to customer demand. This comes after Google promised its rival Chromebook devices will get updates for a decade.
The Redmond giant issued an update on its lifecycle policy for Windows-based Surface devices such that products released after January 1, 2021 will now get driver and firmware updates for at least six years from the date of the device being released.
For Surface devices released before 2021, driver and firmware updates will continue to be offered for at least 4 years, as before.
This policy shift means that owners of devices including the Surface Pro 7+, which was released in January 2021, will now receive updates until January 2027, while newer devices such as the recently released Surface Laptop Go 3 and Surface Laptop Studio 2 will get driver and firmware updates until October 2029.
Conversely, the Surface Laptop Go, which was out just a few months before the Surface Pro 7+, in October 2020, will see its driver and firmware updates dry up from October next year.
It should be noted that this change in policy does not alter the version of Windows supported by the various Surface models. Microsoft reiterated that Surface devices will receive driver and firmware updates for Windows versions released in the previous 30 months, and that this does not include Windows versions earlier than those supported when the device was released.
Surface devices will continue to receive feature and security updates for the Windows operating system in line with Redmond’s Windows Lifecycle Policy, even once the end date for driver and firmware updates has passed.
Some industry observers have speculated that this change to a longer support lifecycle may herald a slowdown in the frequency with which Microsoft releases new Surface device models.
However, the announcement comes just a couple of months after Google promised service updates for a full decade on recent model Chromebooks, a move said to be aimed at appeasing right to repair campaigners.
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Google's decision came a few months after a report criticized its Chromebook devices for not lasting as long as they should because of the cut-off date for updates and because their design can make them tricky to repair.
California last month introduced right to repair legislation aimed at making it easier for buyers to repair devices themselves or get them fixed. Just weeks later, Microsoft announced it was extending its spare parts program for Surface devices by providing replacement components via repairs site iFixit. ®