Microsoft commits to Surface for four years -

Apple cloning outfit Microsoft has said that it will support its Surface RT tablet with updates, including security patches, until April 2017.

But while this might sound like a long time, it is half what Vole usually offers, and would appear to be part of Redmond's "copy Apple business" model plan.

Vole likes to offer support for nearly a decade, but seems to be enamoured with Job's Mob's trick of forgetting about one bit of hardware as soon as a new one comes out. Microsoft has not gone totally towards the Apple way of doing things. The Surface RT will have twice the support that Jobs' Mob gave the original iPad.

According to Computerworld, Microsoft will support the Surface RT only in the "Mainstream" support phase. Normally Vole supports consumer-grade software only during that five-year period. However business software, as well as some titles that are designed for consumers, such as Office Home and Student 2010, receive another five-year stretch, called "Extended" support, for a total of 10 years.

If all this is true, then it is fairly likely that there will be a shorter-than-usual support lifetime for Surface Pro, which Microsoft plans launch at the end of January 2013. That tablet will be powered by an Intel processor, and run Windows 8 Pro.

All this goes against Microsoft's latest policy of extending support rather than contracting it. Microsoft expanded the consumer versions of Windows 7 and Windows Vista to a decade to synchronise them with the lifespan of enterprise editions.