Microsoft loses Sidekick users' data - Top wireless turkeys of 2009

Why is it a turkey?
When Microsoft purchased Danger, the company behind T-Mobile USA's popular Sidekick device, it had no idea that the acquisition would get the firm and its partner T-Mobile embroiled in a public relations disaster.

In early October, reports began surfacing that T-Mobile Sidekick users had been battling connectivity problems for more than a week. Both T-Mobile and Microsoft said they had fixed the service problem, but over the weekend of Oct. 11 T-Mobile warned users that Sidekick personal content that wasn't stored locally on the device has "almost certainly" been lost due to a server malfunction, reflecting one of the possible dangers of cloud computing. Reports also said that Sidekick customers who reset their devices by removing the battery or draining it were the most at risk of losing their personal data.

A day later, T-Mobile said it might be possible to recover some users' missing Sidekick data, and also said that customers who experienced a "significant and permanent" loss of data would get a $100 credit. The credit was in addition to the free month of data services T-Mobile credited to users with Sidekick data plans. The carrier confirmed that Sidekick sales were on hold and that a "minority" of the approximately 1 million Sidekick users on its network had lost personal data, which included calendar and contact information.

Two days later, Microsoft said it had been able to recover most, if not all, of the personal data that Sidekick users lost. The company said it would begin restoring the data, starting with personal contacts, as soon as it validated the data and the restoration plan. The company said the outage was caused by "a system failure that created data loss in the core database and the back-up." Microsoft said it has now taken steps to improve the stability of the Sidekick service and has a more "resilient" back-up service.

The data may be restored, but Sidekick users' sense of security was shattered. It was a black eye for cloud computing, T-Mobile and Microsoft.

Microsoft loses Sidekick users' data - Top wireless turkeys of 2009
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