I cannot say it only happens in America. A lawyer is suing Microsoft over false advertising because for its 32 GB model actually only give you 16 GB space for your files. Here in the UK I can see irate customer filing a complain with the Advertisement Standard Agency. I guess the equivalent of a complain with ASA is lawsuit in America.
Microsoft’s reported disk usage do lead me to think that at least for the 32GB model, one can make a case for false advertisement since the operating system itself eats up half of your available disk space. Microsoft argument that people do expect some space to be taken by operating system does not holds water here for two reasons. One, while we do expect some manufacturer to annoy us by having some spaces taken up by operating system (and crapwares), we do not expect the “core operating system” to take up 11 GB, i.e., my estimate that the operating system is 6GB plus recovery tools (5GB), see later; And Two, it is false advertisement because joe customer might be attracted by the disk size which looks to be larger than the cheapest IPad model and assumed that he has more space than he actually gets with Surface, and Microsoft knows it.
However, if you look at the figure, the actual operating system takes only 8GB. That is not that bad compared with my iPad which says iOS takes up about 5 GB. I am guessing (since I don’t have a Surface to check), the core operating system takes 6GB, preview of Microsoft Office Apps is 1GB since Apple’s iWorks for iPad takes about the same amount of space, and all the crapwares, Games and Videos make up the remaining 1GB.
The killer, to me, is the Recovery Tools rated at 5GB. My God! Those are dead weight space hugger and should not be in the device. What one need is a skeleton program to load the actual recovery tools from a external source, e.g. a computer. Microsoft should trim them down to a more manageable 1GB or so.