Microsoft recovers data for T-Mobile Sidekick / Danger Hiptop users

Microsoft/Danger is now saying that it can restore users' data from the Sidekick/Hiptop debacle -- that's despite it saying over the weekend that it was near-impossible. Will T-Mobile breathe a sigh of relief? In IT Blogwatch, bloggers watch this developing story.

By Richi Jennings. October 15, 2009.


Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention plugin checkin'...

    Reuven Cohen broke the news on Twitter:

Was just talking to a senior official from Microsoft, all sidekick data as been recovered. ... I asked if I could twitter it, said that's why he was telling me.


[But] I would ... like to see some kind of public statement. ... It wouldn't be the first time I was "pwned by a senior official from Microsoft".

Similarly, W Curtis Preston holds forth:

I also just talked to a senior mgr @ Microsoft who verified all #sidekick data has been restored ... Pretty sure it's a diff source, but he did say that MSFT sent an army of ppl to work on the restore and that there was a restore.

Ina Fried has the official 411:

Microsoft said Thursday that it believes it has recovered most of the Sidekick data that it initially feared might have been permanently lost. ... Microsoft had said on Saturday that it believed all data that was not on users' phones was probably permanently lost.


"We are pleased to report that we have recovered most customer data for those Sidekick customers whose data was affected by the recent outage," corporate vice president Roz Ho said in a letter to customers."We plan to begin restoring users' personal data as soon as possible, starting with personal contacts, after we have validated the data and our restoration plan. We will then continue to work around the clock to restore data to all affected users."

Jason Kincaid opines thuswise:

That’s a big change from what we were hearing a few days ago, when T-Mobile said that the data was “almost certainly” gone for good.


Even if Microsoft’s engineers do mange to recover all of the lost data, all parties involved will still take a huge hit in consumer trust, negative press, and questions about the integrity of “the cloud”. But it would certainly soften the blows, and could also help Microsoft and T-Mobile fend off the pending lawsuits from users who lost data.

Scott Bicheno says Microsoft has "under-promised and over-delivered":

The only explanation for what happened went as follows: "We have determined that the outage was caused by a system failure that created data loss in the core database and the back-up." Now, we might not know much about data storage, but surely the main point of a back-up is that it isn't affected by whatever misfortune strikes the main system.


In a classic piece of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, Ho wrote: "...we have made changes to improve the overall stability of the Sidekick service and initiated a more resilient backup process to ensure that the integrity of our database backups is maintained." Microsoft and T-Mobile will be hoping Sidekick users, present and future, treat this as a one-off and don't get too spooked about leaving all their personal data in their hands.

But Tim Anderson scoffs at Ho's apologies:

Coporate Vice President of Premium Mobile Experiences – how hollow that sounds right now.


[It's] the best outcome from a bad situation, though even considered as an extended outage it is unacceptable service, but leaves many questions unanswered. Microsoft still has not really told us how the problem occurred. ... I think we all know that there was a “system failure that created data loss.” However, we all also suspect that there was a human failure that caused normally failsafe systems to fall over.


[Rumors] paint a picture of a mobile device and OS strategy in disarray, a failed acquisition of a company with a promising product and service, and incompetence in handling the Danger service. ... Maybe these sources are just disgruntled employees or ex-employees with grudges to settle. In the absence of facts though, rumours will fly. Currently we have just one fact: a catastrophic system failure for Sidekick customers. Tell us more, or we will assume the worst.

So what's your take?
Get involved: leave a comment.

And finally...

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter, or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email:

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