Last week, Microsoft and T-Mobile announced that they had lost all Sidekick user data including pictures, contacts, calendars and other information from the Danger’s servers. Since the devices sync with the servers, the devices also lost the data.
Until service has been fully restored, T-Mobile newsgroups and forums are advising all Sidekick owners to avoid turning off or resetting their devices and to avoid letting the batteries die. The company has even taken the step of ceasing the sale of all current Sidekicks from all official locations while it irons out this debacle. As an apology, the company has stated in their sponsored newsgroups that they are offering a month of free data service to all Sidekick customers, or (for the truly furious) the option to ditch their T-Mobile contracts penalty-free.
T-Mobile is blaming Microsoft subsidiary Danger, for a massive data loss issue for users of its Sidekick data service. Microsoft bought Danger in February of 2008 for around $500M, for Danger’s Sidekick applications and services.
A week ago, though, Microsoft’s Danger unit experienced a huge outage that left many T-Mobile Sidekick users without access to their calendar, address book, and other key data. That’s because the Sidekick keeps nearly all its data in the cloud as opposed to keeping the primary copy on the devices themselves. T-Mobile advised its users to not reset their device, remove their battery, or let their battery drain completely, at risk of losing any personal content on those devices. The massive data failure at Microsoft’s Danger subsidiary threatens to put a dark cloud over the company’s broader “software plus services” strategy.
Things got even worse on Saturday, as Microsoft said in a statement that data not recovered thus far may be permanently lost. It’s not immediately clear how many people lost their data. The outage earlier in the week affected a broad swath of Sidekick users, though many had data return during the week.
This may have been just the wake-up call the cloud needed. In order to ensure the safety of customer data, companies must implement better and more comprehensive fail-safes. T-Mobile newsgroup subscribers expect that this accident will encourage many businesses to set up their own backup solutions in order to preemptively curb the damage of such outages.