On October 15, Microsoft reversed itself, claiming now that instead of losing all of the personal data of Sidekick users, it has recovered "most, if not all" of it.
(Over the past few days, Microsoft has moved from saying all data was lost, to some, to possibly none.)
From a note on the company's Web site signed by Roz Ho, the Corporate Vice President of Premium Mobile Experiences:
"We are pleased to report that we have recovered most, if not all, customer data for those Sidekick customers whose data was affected by the recent outage. 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, including calendar, notes, tasks, photographs and high scores, as quickly as possible."
Microsoft isn't explaining beyond that what went wrong, starting in early October, that knocked out the hundreds of thousands of Sidekick users. There's been lots of speculation, ranging from sabotage, to an attempt by Microsoft to move Sidekick's back-end infrastructure from its current platform to a Windows-based one. (Danger, which Microsoft acquired in 2008, is still running the back-end infrastructure for the Sidekick.)
One of my Microsoft sources told me
"(T)he data loss issue was caused by a hardware update on the existing Danger service that had NOT been ported over to a Microsoft platform and the issue was NOT part of a transition to an MS back end. It was an Oracle dB and Sun SAN solution that got a bad firmware update and the backup failed."
Since then, I've heard from others that this scenario seems likely and that yes, Hitachi Data Systems was the company actually doing the maintenance/update for Microsoft. I've also heard that foul play has not been ruled out because the failure was so catastrophic and seemingly deliberate. Microsoft is supposedly continuing to do a full investigation.
Microsoft officials are declining to comment beyond the statement they posted to the Web on October 15. They are promising another update on the situation by this Saturday at the latest.
Meanwhile, lawsuits are beginning to pile up as a result of the Sidekick outage, though a full restoration of data may take the bite out of some of them, I'd think.