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Microsoft needs to come clean over Sidekick/Danger disaster

So, it seems that a lot of T-Mobile Sidekick users out there have lost data thanks to the Microsoft acquired Danger data center going belly up. Sidekick users are, understandably, furious with T-Mobile, but let's put the blame squarely where it belongs - at Microsoft's door.
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Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributor on

So, it seems that a lot of T-Mobile Sidekick users out there have lost data thanks to the Microsoft acquired Danger data center going belly up. Sidekick users are, understandably, furious with T-Mobile, but let's put the blame squarely where it belongs - at Microsoft's door.

Microsoft acquired Danger back in February 2008, an acquisition that the Redmond giant claimed "strengthens our dedication to improving mobile experiences centered around individuals and what they like." T-Mobile seems to be scrabbling about trying (and failing) to make Sidekick users feel better about the situation. After all, Sidekick handsets are all emblazoned with the T-Mobile logo. But it's important for all concerned to be aware of the fact that the data was lost on Microsoft's watch.

What happened? So far, we don't know. There are a lot of theories circulating, some crackpot, some plausible. What we do know is that an event caused Sidekick data servers to go down, this took the data with it, and for some reason (which ultimately has to come down to a serious management issue), there doesn't seem to be a backup Danger can turn to.

No backup.

A Microsoft-owned company that handled data for hundreds of thousands of users didn't have a backup. Data failures are a fact of life, but not having a data backup is a colossal IT and management failure. This isn't a cloud failure (although it does cast a cloud on Microsoft's ability to reliably deliver its Azure cloud computing service), it's a Microsoft failure, pure and simple.

Sidekick is now more than likely dead. Consumer confidence has crashed and I can't see it recovering. T-Mobile has to accept that most people won't know or care that Microsoft was behind the mess. But for those who rely on Microsoft, in particular enterprise users, need a clear, fearless and open report as to what went wrong here. Some golden IT rules were ignored here, and we need to know why.

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