Microsoft confirms Yahoo Mail causing Windows Phone 7 data leaks; provides workaround

Summary:Microsoft is confirming officially that -- as at least two bloggers reported in January -- that Yahoo Mail is causing the data leakage problems that some Windows Phone 7 users have encountered.

Microsoft is confirming officially that -- as at least two bloggers reported in January -- that Yahoo Mail is causing the data leakage problems that some Windows Phone 7 users have encountered.

Up until today, Microsoft officials declined to name the application which was causing the problems. On January 31, company officials admitted it was Yahoo Mail.

A fix to the problem -- which "can result in larger than expected data usage for a very small percentage of users" -- will be delivered "in the coming weeks," Microsoft told Windows Phone Secrets author Paul Thurrott. Until then, Microsoft is providing a workaround to alleviate the data-leak problem.

Microsoft officials also acknowledged there is a problem with the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) e-mail synchronization protocol that may be affecting a number of Windows Phone 7 users. Affected email services include anything using that protocol, including Outlook and Gmail. The immediate workaround for the problem is to delete any mail that appears "stuck" in the outbox. Microsoft officials said this problem will be fixed in a "near-term end user update from Microsoft."

Microsoft still has yet to release its first update for Windows Phone 7 (the "No Do" release that was originally known as the "January update"). We've heard for a while that it is "coming soon."

On January 31, researchers at NPD found that Windows Phone 7 captured two percent of the U.S. smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2010.Android is now at 53 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, according to NPD. Maybe the Microsoft folks should take a look at my colleague Larry Dignan's ideas for jump-starting WP7 sales...

WP7 began shipping in Europe in October 2010 and the U.S. (from AT&T and T-Mobile only) in November 2010. Microsoft and its CDMA phone partners Verizon and Sprint have said there will be more phones coming on those carriers some time this year, but have continued to decline to provide a ship-target date.

As a Verizon customer, I'm trying to hold out to see what Windows Phone 7 options Verizon will be offering. A representative from that carrier recently tried to convince me to upgrade to an iPhone. When I asked about Windows Phone 7, it seemed that rep had never heard of it.... Guess "Android's Law" -- the increasingly rapid pace at which phone providers can churn out new Android phones -- doesn't apply so far at all to the Windows Phone.

Update: Yahoo provided a statement at the end of the day on February 1 that acknowledged the problem, but added that Microsoft's software also was to blame, at least in part. From the Yahoo statement I received from a spokesperson via e-mail:

“Yahoo! Mail is widely available on tens of millions of mobile phones, including those running on Apple iOS, Android, Nokia Symbian, and RIM. The issue on the Windows Phones is specific to how Microsoft chose to implement IMAP for Yahoo! Mail and does not impact Yahoo! Mail on these other mobile devices.  Yahoo! has offered to provide Microsoft a near-term solution for the implementation they chose, and is encouraging Microsoft to change to a standard way of integrating with Yahoo! Mail, which would result in a permanent fix.”

Topics: Social Enterprise, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Mobility, Windows


Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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