What’s the worst thing a company that keeps user’s phone data solely in the cloud can tell its customers? Is it that the servers in the cloud are down and you can’t access your own data? Sidekick owners thought that was the worst until today, when […]

sidekickWhat’s the worst thing a company that keeps user’s phone data solely in the cloud can tell its customers? Is it that the servers in the cloud are down and you can’t access your own data? Sidekick owners thought that was the worst until today, when T-Mobile and Danger, a Microsoft subsidiary that produces and operates the Sidekick, told customers that accessing the data was not the main problem. The real problem is the data is gone and can never be accessed again. This data consists of contacts, calendar items, to-do lists and photos that customers have entered into their Sidekick phones. It seems that customer’s phone data was not backed up properly for recovery after servers went down.

T-Mobile and Danger are warning Sidekick owners to not remove the phone battery, or reset the device. To do so will result in a total data loss as the servers that host the syncing ability have lost the user data. This is a total failure for a cloud service, especially one such as the Sidekick service which doesn’t store information permanently on the phone.

T-Mobile is telling their Sidekick customers that “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. 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.”

T-Mobile is suspending the sale of new Sidekicks until further notice.

(via GigaOM)

  1. WOW, this is huge

    this is why i will never give a cloud service the only copy of my info. i insist on 1 local & 1 cloud, or 2 cloud

    imagine if this was a valuable cloud service & not just a phone. like your business? or family data?

  2. Of all the advantages cloud services have, this is the number one killer problem. Mind you, it can also happen in reverse – a few years back I kept all my emails on my local notebook, which were lost when the hard drive failed. I’ve since kept my emails online, but a problem like this happening system-wide to a service like Yahoo would seriously damage a lot of people’s lives.

    The message to take home is clear – backup your stuff! As for those start-up companies hosting cloud services, they should seriously get their act together so that this NEVER happens. If it was my server, redundancy and backups would be my top priority.

  3. Yeaaaaaaaaaah. I’m not feeling the Microsoft-MyPhone love anymore. :( This has got to be bad for Sidekick owners.

  4. I never trust others with “my” data. I backup. Cloud for non enterprise is overrated.

  5. Microsoft: Ur data, I eated it.

  6. If you’re a Sidekick owner, I’d contact T-Mo Executive Customer Service. Here’s a contact:

    Octavio Robertson, 505-341-8059

    (courtesy Consumerist)

  7. As if T-Mobile can do anything about this. This is completely Microsoft’s responsibility. It’s like trying to blame Verizon if RIMM’s BIS servers all go down.

    T-Mobile is the victim here, of getting screwed over by Microsoft, which assured them that Sidekick would continue to get supported after Danger got bought up, when in fact, Microsoft screwed the Danger group and outsourced all support overseas to a handful of engineering yahoos so they can rake in some extra profits. The gory details are at


  8. Wow, that is one big stuff up. A simple lesson on an age old cliche, that all eggs in one basket is not a great situation. If a provider doesn’t offer the option of a local backup of your data, be prepared to lose your data or find another device/provider that does offer local backup. Don’t get mad get another device!

  9. Digital data is just inherently unstable, well not the data itself, but the technology it is stored on, we still havent developed any type of digital store and retrieve tech that beats paper….im not saying abandon digital systems and go back to paper, but it’s just a craw in my side that the only recourse is to have backup and redundancy to avoid catastrophe, and even that is no guarantee that your data will keep its integrity for the long haul, do yourself a favor!, get some photo albums, print your pics to at least save those family memories!

    1. GoodThings2Life Sunday, October 11, 2009

      That is the most asinine comment I’ve ever read. You’re seriously going to make an argument that a piece of paper that I can shred, burn, misplaced, or copy/fax-degrade to oblivion is inherently “safer” than any digital medium?! Simply absurd!

      Everything fails in its own time. Humanity. Technology. Everything. All we can do along the way is take steps to protect things the best we can. If we don’t, we’re more to blame than the companies that provide the service.

      1. turn.self.off Sunday, October 11, 2009

        i suspect the idea is that you need to be very heavy handed with paper to really erase whats written on it fully.

        as its a analog medium, one can figure out the content by partial leftovers.

        with digital however, lose a crucial part (like say the format identifier) one have lost the content fully, or how if the controller board on a HDD dies, the whole drive is basically lost (unless you feel like going to a specialist recovery shop and pay them in blood to have them access the plates directly).

        as for “as best we can” is nuts if the company do not provide the user to make a simple local backup…

  10. I just can’t believe something like this happened and that they didn’t have a backup of the data! Why would all the data be stored in the cloud when it should be stored on the device and backed up on the cloud. Hopefully they can restore at least some of the data.


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