Microsoft will support its Surface Pro tablet until July 2017, or almost four-and-a-half years after its launch last weekend, the company's website confirmed.

Like its predecessor the Surface RT, the Windows 8-powered Surface Pro sports a support lifecycle that's less than half the usual 10 years Microsoft allots its software products.

Microsoft will support the Surface Pro only in a "Mainstream" support phase, the company said on its lifecycle website.

Last year, Microsoft announced a similar support schedule for the Surface RT. That device, which launched in late Oct. 2012, will be supported until April 2017, or nearly four-and-a-half years.

Microsoft typically supports consumer-grade software only during a five-year mainstream stretch. Business software and operating systems receive another five-year span, called "Extended" support, for a total of 10 years.

During the four years of support for the Surface Pro, Microsoft will offer hardware repair -- free during the warranty period, for-a-fee after that -- as well as make available parts and replacement units. Telephone-based support will also be offered only during the four-year period.

But the Surface Pro's operating system -- Windows 8 Pro -- will continue to be supported long after the hardware is retired.