Microsoft Consumer Hardware Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ
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Effective October 26th, 2012 Microsoft established a comprehensive Consumer Hardware Support Lifecycle Policy. In addition to previously supported hardware such as mice and keyboards, the new policy has been expanded to include Surface Devices*, Xbox and Kinect. Under this policy, Microsoft offers support for its consumer hardware product for a minimum of 4 years from the first date of general availability. This period may vary by local jurisdiction and laws. All consumer hardware products released prior to October 26th, 2012 will remain supported under the terms of the original Support Lifecycle policy.
- What’s the Microsoft support lifecycle policy for the Microsoft Software / Firmware / Operating System that is embedded in the hardware device (except for Surface devices)? Why do Microsoft hardware devices have a different lifecycle policy from the software lifecycle support policy?
For Microsoft hardware devices other than Surface devices, the lifecycle policy for the software/firmware and OS that is embedded into hardware devices follows the hardware lifecycle support policy. This policy is different than the software lifecycle support policy because:
- The hardware and embedded software are functionally dependent and can’t work separately from one another;
- Issues with embedded software are invisible to customers and are not supported separately; and
- If the product is returned, it typically will go through a hardware repair / exchange process.
- What’s the support lifecycle policy for the Software / Firmware / Operating System that is embedded in the Surface device? How will the hardware support lifecycle policy affect out of warranty coverage for Surface devices?
For Surface devices, any Surface software installed, embedded or downloaded on the device (such as Windows RT or Windows 8 Pro) is subject to the software lifecycle support policy for that software (unlike other HW devices such as Xbox).
- What is the support lifecycle policy for subscription services that are part of the device ecosystem, such as Xbox LIVE and Xbox Music?
Customers receive support, updates and new versions of subscription services for as long as they pay for the service. If a customer’s subscription ends, that customer is not entitled to further use of or product support for that service.
- What is the support lifecycle policy for software applications that run on a hardware device, such as downloadable apps?
Downloadable applications should be supported by the publisher. Built-in applications (such as the Netflix application in Xbox) will follow the policy for embedded software described in Question 1 above.
- What is the support lifecycle policy for other Microsoft software products or applications that are offered as part of the hardware ecosystem, such as Windows Media Room that runs on Xbox? Are they covered by the Windows software support lifecycle policy?
Windows based products such as Windows Media Room are governed by the Windows software support lifecycle policy. Any Microsoft software installed or downloaded on the device (not embedded) is governed by the support lifecycle policy for that software (similar to software applications running on the device mentioned in Question 4 above).
- How does the Microsoft hardware support lifecycle policy affect the product warranty?
Microsoft product warranties and extended service plans (if available) are independent from the hardware support lifecycle policy. Microsoft will honor its warranties and service plans, regardless of the support lifecycle end date (for example, if a product is sold at the end of the support lifecycle period and the term of the warranty or extended service plan extends beyond that period, then Microsoft will honor that warranty or extended service plan).
- How will the hardware support lifecycle policy affect out of warranty coverage for Surface devices?
The hardware support lifecycle policy applies only to the Surface hardware (and as stated above not the Surface software). For Surface devices, that policy affects only the tablet device and hardware based accessories (and for example not to soft goods accessories such as cases).
- Is the hardware support lifecycle policy period of 4 years from commercial launch applicable for every country?
No. There is a continuum of legal requirements for end of life support. Some countries require no designated end of life support period, and others require end of life support for more than 4 years. The policy takes this into account and specifies that coverage can vary under local law. Microsoft is building flexibility into our sales and support systems to reflect this variance between countries.
- How does this policy apply to the software on the Microsoft Surface product?
For the Surface device, the software embedded in it is subject to the Microsoft software lifecycle support policy, as is any software that is installed or downloaded on that Surface device.
- How does this policy apply to hardware products made by other companies but sold by Microsoft?
Third party consumer hardware products sold and/or distributed by Microsoft and/or used with Microsoft products are not included in this Support Lifecycle Policy for Consumer Hardware.
- What Phases of support apply to Microsoft Hardware?
Microsoft offers Mainstream Support under the consumer hardware policy. Microsoft does not offer Extended Support for its consumer hardware products. See the table below for additional details.
* Refers to Surface with Windows RT and/or Surface with Windows 8 Pro.