Microsoft has confirmed that its upcoming Microsoft Surface Pro tablet with 64GB of storage will have 23GB of usable space. The 128GB version will only have 83GB of usable storage space.

The rest of the storage space is mostly taken up with the Windows 8 operating system, built-in apps and a recovery partition. The Microsoft Surface Pro differs from the regular Surface in that it uses an Intel x86 chip, instead of an ARM processor. It comes pre-installed with Windows 8 Pro, rather than that the stripped down Windows 8 RT. The Microsoft Surface Pro launches in the US and Canada on 9 February.

Microsoft told The Verge website that users could create additional space by "creating a backup bootable USB and deleting the recovery partition," but it's another clear sign of the divide between Microsoft and Apple's philosophy.

Microsoft Surface Pro

The news comes shortly after Apple announced a iPad with 128GB of storage space. iOS 6 takes up just 857MB of space on the iPad, leaving 127GB for professionals. That's a massive difference in use.

Google has also taken the tack of producing a minimalist operating system. Android 4.2 on a Galaxy Nexus S 16GB apparently reports 13.33GB in total. More than double Apple's operating system, but still clearly a lot less than Microsoft Windows 8.

Apple has clearly taken the issue of the operating system size seriously over the years, the first edition of iOS took up a mere 95MB of space from the 8GB that the original iPhone shipped with.

Although Apple has slowly increased the size of the iOS operating system, as it introduced new features, it has always kept it proportionally small compared to the increasing Flash memory size.

It seems that Microsoft's approach of using a Windows-based operating system on its tablet devices has taken it in a different direction. One that users should be aware of when making a decision between different devices.

See also:

Microsoft Surface web benchmarks reveal terrible performance