Sidekick Owners Get Bad News — Phone Data Is Gone Forever


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)



Wow… this is crazy… Then again, Microsoft at its best.

On a side note, 2005 Paris Hilton would have freaked out… assuming she managed to understand what “The Cloud” is…

Paris: Does this mean my friends are gone?
Bodyguard: Ermm… no. Only their phone numbers. They were in the cloud, which is now lost.
Paris: What were their phone numbers doing on a cloud? Were they sky-diving?
Bodyguard: Ermmm… no.
Paris: Does this have anything to do with “Global Warming”, whatever that means? Do you think that if I talk in public about global warming people will think I’m smart?
Bodyguard: Ermmm… possibly.
Paris: Never mind. I’m gonna make a perfume instead, and call it “Global Cloud”. Lemme call Nichole and tell her!! I’m so excited! *looks at phone* Wait… WHERE’S NICHOLE’S NUMBER??
Bodyguard: Ermm…

amber h .

wow this suckss. i cant get on aim or internet. my data service never came back. everytime i try to go on it says i have to enter my t-mail password. i entered it and it kept saying it was wrong. so i changed it, and it would work on the computer but everytime i did it on my sidekick it would say it was entered incorrectly . i cant get on aim or internet . idk what to do >;O


Microsoft should give every Sidekick owner a free myTouch 3G with 1 year of free data service. At MS there should be a string of resignations beginning with Steve Ballmer’s and Robbie Bach’s.


With all the available technology in data centers today to secure data – backups, snapshots, redundant storage – it really does indicate a massive level of failure to permit something like this to happen. I’m flabbergasted at the sheer level of incompetence it takes to fail to take backups and have multiple offsite ones at that, and even more so that their systems weren’t multiple redundant permitting them to upgrade their disk systems in stages.

In the usual course of things, cloud data should be a lot more secure than anything stored locally… but that is if the data storage systems and their setup have been designed by someone skilled and maintained properly.

Amazing level of fail from Danger and Hitachi here, I have to say.


im going to personally hand deliver my sidekick to redmond and shove it into steve ballmers throat while i scream fuch u microd^ck as he dies a slow PAINFUL DEATH!!!!


Typical MS. I remember when they bought Hotmail a few years ago and immediately tried to move all users to their proprietary Exchange Server backend. They FAILED miserably and had to go back to Unix/Sendmail servers originally hosting Hotmail. They eventually made the move years later though. MS NEVER gets it right the first tiime NEVER. They are the least innovative technology company in history. All they do is copy, steal and/or buy other people’s tech. The only worthwhile thing i can ever remember them actually creating is the non-standard XHR object used in most Web Browsers today that enabled AJAX webapps. For all their billion$ they sure are one big Doofus Corporation.


This is not a problem for me since I always back up any web data I have to one or more locations, depending on how important it it to me. I only use my Sidekick for realtime communications. I recently set up my Skype business account to forward to my Google Talk number. This means that business calls to my business number get transferred to my sidekick or whereever else I choose–and it works. I just do not care about the notion that Tmobile is not saving my info permanently. It works for me and that is all I care about. If I get something that I need to save, I save it. End of story.


And MS expect to come out with its own phones? Better to nuke the entire Danger division now.

T-Mobile is a small carrier as it is, how do MS expect to push its newest and greatest crap to other more powerful carriers? LOL indeed.

Chris Fabri

When I hear the word cloud, I imagine at least 2 datacenters that are fully redundant, with some level of disk redundancy for the systems at each, and then something that can back them up with a high level of confidence, with probably something off-site. I guess it would be nice if there was good disclosure on what the cloud system your getting (especially if you’re actually paying money) has in terms of a system. Maybe a high profile case like this will result in better details about what’s actually going on.

John in Norway

I don’t trust my wife with my credit card so there’s no way I’ll trust some stranger with all my data.

Apple software community

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.


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!


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.

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…


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!


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


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)


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

Ricky B

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


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.


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?

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