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Have you ever wondered just how much support you’re going to get out of Microsoft if you purchased one of their Windows RT-powered Surface tablets? These devices were first launched not more than a full month ago and many people are now curious as to what exactly Microsoft plans on doing with them in terms of support. There haven’t really been many enlightening clues regarding this issue. Until now, that is.

According to a newly posted update to the support lifecycle page on its own web site, Microsoft will offer at least four years of official support for Surface tablets with Windows RT. For those that are familiar with how Microsoft normally deals with customer support for plain old Windows, this may seem quite different. But it’s not so surprising when you consider the fact that the Surface tablet itself, along with the pre-installed Windows RT software that comes bundled with it, is different and so it deserves a slightly different treatment than normal.

The information on Microsoft’s web site says that Mainstream Support for the Surface with Windows RT will officially end on April 11th, 2017. And it’s possible that it might be extended. But going with the official specified date, that’s still almost four and a half years of full support, which covers free hardware repairs or replacements and parts for all units that are still under warranty. Free firmware updates will also be rolled out to users of all Surface tablets with Windows RT until then. That includes updates to Office Home and Student 2013 as well.

This support scheme is interesting and advantageous to all current and prospective Surface tablet owners for a number of reasons. First, it confirms that Microsoft has a plan to maintain and update its current flagship device–the very first that it has ever produced–as it moves forward. This is important especially since there’s a high chance that newer versions will be announced and released in the not-too-distant future. It’s also a good way to differentiate this particular tablet offering from the many alternatives available from the competition–namely, Apple’s iPad and dozens of devices running Google’s Android–by continuously updating it through the coming years instead of just leaving its users in the dust.

Do you think four years of full support is enough to cover the needs of all current and future Surface tablet owners or should Microsoft extend it further? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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