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T-Mobile and Microsoft Deal With Sidekick Data Loss Disaster

The Sidekick data outage has passed the one-week mark and is quickly closing in on two. What was supposed to be a day or two of inconvenience for customers has turned into an epic public relations disaster for T-Mobile, Microsoft, Danger, and the very concept of cloud computing.

Since the outage began last Friday, many users are still without access to personal data stored on Danger and Microsoft servers, including their calendars and contacts. Professional gossip blogger Perez Hilton has been particularly vocal about his displeasure with T-Mobile by loudly complaining about the cellular provider's failure to effectively communicate with its customer base.

Of course, this extended outage would be embarrassing enough if it ended there, but on Saturday things took a turn for the worse. T-Mobile announced that a Microsoft server failure had caused some customers' data to be lost forever. T-Mobile didn't specify how many customers were affected by the failure, but it didn't leave much room for hope, either. The company stated that, if the data in question wasn't currently on your Sidekick, it was "almost certainly" lost.

Until service has been fully restored, T-Mobile is 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 drastic step of (at least temporarily) ceasing the sale of Sidekicks while it irons out this debacle. As an apology, the company is offering a month of free data service (worth $20) to all Sidekick customers, or (for the truly furious) the option to ditch their T-Mobile contracts penalty-free.

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. TechCrunch expects that this accident will encourage many businesses to set up their own backup solutions in order to preemptively curb the damage of such outages.

Technologizer pointed out that this could spell trouble for Microsoft, which snatched up Danger last year and plans to use the platform as the basis for its consumer-friendly "Project Pink" smartphones. This also has us slightly concerned about the reliability of Microsoft's newly launched My Phone cloud backup service for Windows Mobile devices. Of course, the implications extend beyond Microsoft and Sidekick devices. Google admitted to the SEC that its own systems are not completely redundant and are vulnerable to natural disasters, power outages, and terrorist attacks. Google has had a hard enough time keeping Gmail up lately, and that's without such dramatic catastrophes.

Of course, Twitter addict John Mayer has found the one silver lining in all of this: Perez Hilton may have lost over 2,000 contacts stored on his Sidekick. A happy day for celebrities indeed. [From: Engadget, Mashable, Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, Channel Web, Technologizer, Consumerist, Perez Hilton]

Tags: cloud, danger inc, DangerInc, microsoft, outage, service, sidekick, t mobile, TMobile, top



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