When does your Surface support life cycle end? Will it get fixed?

Microsoft seems to have yanked all of its information about Surface device life cycles. Older Surface owners, in particular, wonder if they’ll ever see Meltdown/Spectre patches.

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Gordon Mah Ung

Time was you could go to Microsoft’s website and get a definitive answer as to when your Surface machine’s support life cycle would end. For reasons unknown, that information isn’t where it used to be. It’s an open question whether Microsoft has unilaterally withdrawn support — a particularly important question, given the ultimate availability of Meltdown/Spectre patches.

Let’s say you have a Surface Pro 2 and you want to know if Microsoft will ever fix the Meltdown/Spectre vulnerability on your machine. To date, there’s been no notification one way or the other, but the tea leaves look increasingly bitter.

Here’s what we do know:

  • When Microsoft launched the Surface RT, it committed to support the tablet until April 2017. (See Gregg Keizer's article in Computerworld, among many other sources.)
  • When Microsoft launched the Surface Pro, it committed to support the tablet until July 2017. (See Gregg Keizer’s article in Computerworld, among many other sources.)
  • When Microsoft launched the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, it committed to support the tablets until April 10, 2018. (See John Callaham’s article on Neowin, among many others.)

Those articles, and many more, pointed to a Microsoft Lifecycle Policy page that, in a kinder and gentler age, used to list life cycle dates for many Microsoft products, including Surface devices. That page no longer lists Surface devices, and the links in many of the rollout articles don’t work anymore.

Poster Danny Murgatroyd, on the Microsoft Answers forum, put it this way:

My guess is that at some point Microsoft decided to not publish support lifecycle dates for their Surface products anymore, and to remove the dates for existing products.

And that conclusion correlates with every observation I’ve seen. (Not surprisingly, the robo-response to Murgatroyd from Microsoft employee Voun Tia misses the point completely.)

Here’s the rub. All the world is on pins and needles (needlessly, at this point, IMHO) about firmware patches for the Meltdown/Spectre vulnerabilities. Microsoft has published an official list of all of its intended patches:

In addition to installing the January 3 Windows Operating System Security Updates, Surface has released UEFI updates via Windows Update and the Download Center for the following devices:

   Surface Book 2
   Surface Laptop
   Surface Studio
   Surface Pro 4  
   Surface Book
   Surface Pro 3 - Preview update is available on the Microsoft Download Center website. (For more information, see this Microsoft Surface Blog article.)
   Surface Pro Model 1796 + LTE - This update is currently being validated.

Folks who own earlier Surfaces are feeling a bit put out at the moment — particularly those who were promised that Surface Pro 2 support would extend to April 10, 2018. But, surprise, the confirmation of that date is no longer on Microsoft’s we site.

Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) Barb Bowman responded:

When *I* asked an internal contact about Surface Pro original, Surface Pro 2 and Surface 3 (non Pro), he directed me to https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/407306... - where there is no mention of all of these tablets (although there IS mention of the latest Surface Pro 2017 +LTE being "in validation").

When I asked again, I was again given this link as being authoritative. They point to this document and that's it. I would guess that PR/legal determined how these questions would be answered. The way I would interpret the omission of these devices is that the answer is no, but I can't speak for Microsoft.

Is Microsoft pulling its support for the Surface Pro 2? If so, why go about it this sneaky way?

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