T-Mobile Has “Almost Certainly” Lost Sidekick Users’ Data

In an event that highlights the downsides of so-called “cloud computing,” mobile operator T-Mobile has apparently lost all personal data stored by users of its popular Sidekick mobile communication devices. Sidekick service has been experiencing disruption for days, but, now, according to T-Mobile, Sidekick users can expect their calendar items, to-do lists, contacts, and photos are simply gone. No backup, and almost zero hope of recovery.

“Personal information stored on your device [..] that is no longer on your Sidekick almost certainly has been lost,” the company said in a statement. “That said, our teams 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.”

The company plans to communicate with Sidekick users today regarding the data recovery efforts and user options.

T-Mobile is advising customers do not reset their Sidekick devices by removing the battery or letting the battery run down to no charge, since that will mean the loss of any personal data that is still stored on the device itself. T-Mobile Sidekick

The mobile operator accepts responsibility for the incident, but is also pointing its finger at Microsoft and its subsidiary Danger, who maintain and operate the back-end platform for the Sidekick service. Industry watchers have been offering numerous theories about the nature of the disruption, the most credible of which seem to center around Microsoft outsourcing an upgrade to involved SAN (Storage Area Network) services without a working backup of user data.

The incident could turn into a tremendous black eye for Microsoft, which is trying to establish the credibility of its cloud platforms and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings to both consumers and enterprises.

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