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T-Mobile sidelines Sidekick in wake of data debacle

Brad Reed (Network World)
Thursday, October 13, 2009

T-Mobile has for the time being pulled all of its Sidekick phones off the market, more than a week after the phones were hit by massive data outages.

According to T-Mobile’s mobile phone shopping page, every Sidekick model is now “temporarily out of stock.” The carrier has pulled the phones in the wake of a massive service outages for the devices that has resulted in many users losing their personal data.

The trouble for Sidekick users started more than a week ago when T-Mobile and Microsoft subsidiary Danger confirmed a data service disruption that the companies said at the time would last for days. However, the service disruptions continued throughout all last week and culminated this weekend with Microsoft acknowledging that Danger had likely permanently lost its customers’ personal data during the disruption.

Danger, as the maker of the Sidekick, stores its users’ personal data on its own servers as part of a cloud-based storage service. However, a server failure at Danger’s facilities has apparently resulted in a total loss of data for users who tried to reset their phones by removing their batteries or by letting their batteries expire. When Sidekick batteries are removed or are allowed to expire, the data stored on the devices is lost; thus, if users lost the data on the devices, they also lost the backup data stored on the Danger servers.

T-Mobile has tried to make up for this data loss by offering Sidekick users a one-month credit to their data service accounts. This has, however, not stopped Sidekick users from flooding T-Mobile’s online support forums this week with angry messages that threaten to cancel their T-Mobile subscriptions or file lawsuits against T-Mobile and Microsoft.

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