In a recent forum post on the T-Mobile forums, the company recently admitted blame for an outage for Sidekick
users which may involve them entirely losing all of their data on their phones. Yes, all of it.
Here is the real gem that they posted here:
Sidekick customers, during this service disruption, please DO NOT remove your battery, reset your Sidekick, or allow it to lose power. "…Regrettably, based on Microsoft/Danger's latest recovery assessment of their systems, we must now inform you that personal information stored on your device - such as contacts, calendar entries, to-do lists or photos - that is no longer on your Sidekick almost certainly has been lost as a result of a server failure at Microsoft/Danger. That said, our teams continue to work around-the-clock in hopes of discovering some way to recover this information. However, the likelihood of a successful outcome is extremely low. As such, we wanted to share this news with you and offer some tips and suggestions to help you rebuild your personal content. You can find these tips in our Sidekick Contacts FAQ. We encourage you to visit the Forums on a regular basis to access the latest updates as well as FAQs regarding this service disruption."
Yes, that means that if you have a sidekick you’re basically screwed. This is not really T-Mobile’s fault but rather Danger’s fault. This is another prime example of why cloud computing is not always the best solution for users. Interestingly enough, this comes right on the heels of the recent hotmail password breach as well.T-Mobile Sidekick homepage now contains this warning for all Sidekick owners
All in all, this is a gigantic SNAFU that I do not wish upon anyone who works for T-Mobile USA to endure. There will be a lot of people leaving T-Mobile after this, especially after hearing some people cursing up and down about the outage. I have spoken to at least 5 sidekick users, and every single one of them is poised to leave ASAP. T-Mobile is going to have to do a lot of PR mending and probably refund a lot of people quite a bit of money or give them some sweet deals. Also, we have learned that T-Mobile has removed all 5 models of Sidekicks off their site and they are currently "temporarily out of stock."
However, there is still a big question here… The Sidekick was the first device that actually linked a cellphone to a cloud service and that was partially the reason why an anonymous hacker managed to get all the data from the infamous Paris Hilton incident, with private numbers from various stars and text messages spreading all over the internet. After that incident, Microsoft's subsidiary, Danger, really stepped up the security. But this synchronization issue is unmatched in the world of cellphones. How secure can you feel if you know that all of your data could be wiped not just from the cloud service, but from your local device as well?
That is one tough question everybody has to ask themselves when looking at mobile devices. When Gmail suffers an outage, it ends up on front pages of daily papers… but what happens if millions of users lose their data if they accidentally run out of battery or if the software locks up?Update October 12, 2009 19:25 GMT -
We have received the following statement from T-Mobile USA PR representative:
"T-Mobile and the Sidekick data services provider, Danger, a subsidiary of Microsoft, are reaching out to express our apologies regarding the recent Sidekick data service disruption. We appreciate your patience as Microsoft/Danger continues to work on maintaining platform stability, and restoring all services for our Sidekick customers.
Regrettably, based on Microsoft/Danger’s latest recovery assessment of their systems, we must now inform you that personal information stored on your device – such as contacts, calendar entries, to-do lists or photos – that is no longer on your Sidekick almost certainly has been lost as a result of a server failure at Microsoft/Danger. That said, our teams continue to work around-the-clock in hopes of discovering some way to recover this information. However, the likelihood of a successful outcome is extremely low. As such, we wanted to share this news with you and offer some tips and suggestions to help you rebuild your personal content. You can find these tips at the T-Mobile Sidekick Forums (http://www.t-mobile.com/sidekick). We encourage you to visit the Forums on a regular basis to access the latest updates as well as FAQs regarding this service disruption.
In addition, we plan to communicate with you on Monday (Oct. 12) the status of the remaining issues caused by the service disruption, including the data recovery efforts and the Download Catalog restoration which we are continuing to resolve. We also will communicate any additional tips or suggestions that may help in restoring your content.
We recognize the magnitude of this inconvenience. Our primary efforts have been focused on restoring our customers’ personal content. We also are considering additional measures for those of you who have lost your content to help reinforce how valuable you are as a T-Mobile customer.
We continue to advise customers to NOT reset their device by removing the battery or letting their battery drain completely, as any personal content that currently resides on your device will be lost.
Once again, T-Mobile and Microsoft/Danger regret any and all inconvenience this matter has caused."
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