Sidekick users may regain lost data, Microsoft says
Offers hope to fuming users after massive server outage, puts distance between subsidiary's snafu and own cloud plans
Computerworld - Microsoft late Monday held out a glimmer of hope to Sidekick users, saying that it may be able to recover some data previously believed lost in a massive server failure.
"Recent efforts indicate the prospects of recovering some lost content may now be possible," a Microsoft spokesman said in a statement that was duplicated on T-Mobile's support site. "We will continue to keep you updated on this front; we know how important this is to you."
The news came two days after Microsoft and T-Mobile confirmed that a server failure "almost certainly" meant that users' data had been lost. In a joint message at the time, the companies said that although engineers were working on the problem, "the likelihood of a successful outcome is extremely low."
The outage sparked users to post thousands of messages on T-Mobile's support forums, where most customers raged at the loss, calling it "inexcusable" and beating the drum for a class-action lawsuit.
On Monday, hints surfaced that Microsoft might have made progress in restoring the lost data, as some users said that personal data had reappeared on their phones.
Sidekicks use the servers run by Microsoft subsidiary Danger Inc. to synchronize the smartphone's content, including contacts, appointments and photos, with a cloud-based storage service. When the servers went down and data on them was lost, that same data was then deleted from Sidekicks whose users had removed the battery in an attempt to reset the device, or had let the phone's battery completely drain.
Some reports had linked the server failure to an upgrade of Danger's storage area network (SAN). Microsoft, however, declined to confirm those reports.
T-Mobile promised customers $100 for their troubles, but with significant caveats. "In the event certain customers have experienced a significant and permanent loss of personal content, T-Mobile will be sending these customers a $100 customer appreciation card," the mobile carrier said. "This will be in addition to the free month of data service that already went to Sidekick data customers. This card can be used towards T-Mobile products and services, or a customer's T-Mobile bill."
Affected customers will be automatically notified within the next two weeks, T-Mobile added. "We however remain hopeful that for the majority of our customers, personal content can be recovered."
Also on Monday, Microsoft provided some additional information about what happened at Danger, the Sidekick software and services developer it acquired in 2008. "A server failure at Microsoft/Danger caused an outage that affected the applications and services available on the Sidekick devices," a Microsoft spokesman said Monday afternoon. The failure, the spokesman added, "impacted both the main and backup databases."
But Microsoft also made a point to distance its own cloud-based plans from the disaster. "The Sidekick runs on Danger's proprietary service that Microsoft inherited when it acquired Danger in 2008," said Microsoft's spokesman. "The Danger service is built on a mix of Danger-created technologies and third-party technologies. Microsoft's other cloud computing projects are totally separate from the Danger Service and do not rely on the Danger Service technology."
T-Mobile, meanwhile, yanked the Sidekick from its online store Monday. As of 2 a.m. Eastern today, the Sidekick was still listed as "temporarily out of stock."
Read more about Mobile/Wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- OpenStack Hype vs. Reality: CIO Quick Pulse Open-source architecture can enable IT departments to build infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds running on standard hardware.
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Separating Work and Personal at the Platform Level: How BlackBerry Balance Works BlackBerry® Balance™ separates work from personal on the same mobile device, right at a platform level. Find out how it can work for...
- Protection for Every Enterprise: How BlackBerry Security Works Get an IT-level review of BlackBerry® Security, addressing data leakage protection, certified encryption, containerization and much more.
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Workforce Mobilization for Improved Productivity A mobility research director from Aberdeen discusses reasons for extending legacy applications to mobile devices, and an integration strategist from Attachmate shows how...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts
As emerging technologies evolve they often find an initial niche in highly specialized scenarios, or in specific industry verticals, before expanding to wider areas of applicability. Within these initial niches, the early adopters can be anything from digital enthusiasts to fashionistas, or they can be folks simply using the technology because it serves a specific need extremely well. (free registration required) more