Microsoft Backup Failure Caused Huge Sidekick Data Loss

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Owners of T-Mobile Sidekick have been warned they will “almost certainly” have lost their personal data following a server failure at Microsoft, causing acute embarrassment for Redmond with its smart-phone and cloud ambitions

Microsoft’s cloud ambitions have taken a huge knock after news emerged of a massive data loss for owners of the T-Mobile Sidekick, a web-oriented smart phone that allows users to backup their data online.

Sidekick phones are made by Microsoft after it acquired Danger Inc last year in an effort to broaden its appeal to the youth market and revitalise its “smart” phone software portfolio. The handsets are actually sold by T-Mobile USA, the US mobile operation of German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom.

The devices are also available in the UK via T-Mobile, although it is not known at this time whether UK users have also been affected.

For the past week, the devices have been plagued by data outages and at the weekend, T-Mobile USA, warned users of the seriousness of the problem in a notice on its website.

It said that customers who did not store their contacts, calendar entries, to-do lists or photos locally on the handset, will “almost certainly” have lost the data. When functioning normally, the Sidekick retrieves data from Microsoft servers when the phone resets etc.

“Regrettably, 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,” the notice said.


It said its engineers “continue to work around-the-clock in hopes of discovering some way to recover this information. However, the likelihood of a successful outcome is extremely low.”

It also warned users against resetting a Sidekick by removing the battery or letting the battery drain, as this would still result in the loss of any personal content stored on the device.

The new could not have come at a worse time for Microsoft, with its recently launched Windows Mobile 6.5, as well as its ambitions to take on Google in the cloud.

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