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Dark Clouds for Sidekick Users



sidekick-2009-lx1.jpgT-Mobile has halted Sidekick sales after announcing the cloud has failed big time. Something’s gone seriously wrong and Danger has lost subscribers’ photos, contacts, to-do lists and calendar entries.

Sidekicks shuffle personal data back and forth between Danger’s servers rather than storing it locally on a permanent basis. Users who’ve reset their Sidekicks have already seen their data disappear. Those who can still access their data are scrambling to save it.

In a word, Sidekick users are SOL.

I’ve freaked out when I can’t access cloud services or email for a period of time. I can’t imagine how I’d react if my personal data just evaporated.

This incident really calls into question how much we should trust cloud services. Danger is a subsidiary of Microsoft and T-Mobile is part of Deutsche Telekom, Europe’s largest telco. If this kind of disaster can happen with a paid service from two of the largest companies on Earth it can happen anywhere.

There’s a very slim chance that the data can be recovered, but things don’t look very promising. T-Mobile posted the following notice on its support forum Saturday:

Sidekick customers, during this service disruption, please DO NOT remove your battery, reset your Sidekick, or allow it to lose power.

Updated: 10/10/2009 12:35 PM PDT


Dear valued T-Mobile Sidekick customers:

T-Mobile and the Sidekick data services provider, Danger, a subsidiary of Microsoft, are reaching out to express our apologies regarding the recent Sidekick data service disruption.

We appreciate your patience as Microsoft/Danger continues to work on maintaining platform stability, and restoring all services for our Sidekick customers.

Regrettably, based on Microsoft/Danger’s latest recovery assessment of their systems, we must now inform you that personal information stored on your device – such as contacts, calendar entries, to-do lists or photos – that is no longer on your Sidekick almost certainly has been lost as a result of a server failure at Microsoft/Danger. 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. As such, we wanted to share this news with you and offer some tips and suggestions to help you rebuild your personal content. You can find these tips in our Sidekick Contacts FAQ. We encourage you to visit the Forums on a regular basis to access the latest updates as well as FAQs regarding this service disruption.

In addition, we plan to communicate with you on Monday (Oct. 12) the status of the remaining issues caused by the service disruption, including the data recovery efforts and the Download Catalog restoration which we are continuing to resolve. We also will communicate any additional tips or suggestions that may help in restoring your content.

We recognize the magnitude of this inconvenience. Our primary efforts have been focused on restoring our customers’ personal content. We also are considering additional measures for those of you who have lost your content to help reinforce how valuable you are as a T-Mobile customer.

We continue to advise customers to NOT reset their device by removing the battery or letting their battery drain completely, as any personal content that currently resides on your device will be lost.

Once again, T-Mobile and Microsoft/Danger regret any and all inconvenience this matter has caused.



  1. Ryan

    10/11/2009 at 12:57 am

    This is just too good to not comment. The ad beneath the article is an ad for the Sidekick. Good placement, Google.

  2. Frank

    10/11/2009 at 3:03 am

    That’s why I’ll never rely on such a Cloud network only. As an additional backup, fine. Just like Live Mesh, which I’ve used in the past, but no longer because it does not work with encrypted drives. It was a great tool, I was able to access the files from everywhere and sync them with multiple devices.
    However, solutions as the Sidekick or solutions Google wants, no thank you, I want the files on my hard disk and if this HDD gets broken then I can use my own backup, if this is broken, then I can use the ‘Cloud’ backup, and if this is broken, well, then I have a problem :)

    For now, I would only want to have an own cloud server. A server at home, connected to the Internet, which I can access from everywhere and on which I can store my files, together with a program like Live Mesh to create automatically backups. However, sadly I don’t know how to do this :(

  3. GoodThings2Life

    10/11/2009 at 8:34 am

    To paraphrase Ferris Bueller, “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… servers can crash pretty fast. If you don’t stop and make your own backups once in a while, you could miss it!”

    Seriously, I love the cloud… I love keeping my data synced between multiple systems. But who in their right mind would trust a service by any vendor that is exclusively dependent on that one source? I just can’t find any rational reason to do so.

  4. Mark (K0LO)

    10/11/2009 at 10:02 am


    Check out Windows Home Server.

  5. Nameless

    10/11/2009 at 12:53 pm

    And this is why I want no part of cloud computing if it means completely relying upon someone else’s server for data access.

    It’s annoyed the heck out of me ever since smartphones became mainstream with Windows Mobile. The applications stopped assuming that maybe-just maybe-some people do NOT always have an Internet connection on their device and provide no provision for locally-stored data whatsoever.

    Now, I’m not totally against cloud computing-the caveat here, though, is that the cloud only involves my own computers and nothing more than the Internet connection between them. I’m more trusting of my own equipment than anyone else’s, even if I do have to pay up for it.

  6. Frank

    10/11/2009 at 1:48 pm

    this looks nice, sadly I don’t get them via my MSDNAA account, I only have access to the full server versions :(

  7. Mark (K0LO)

    10/11/2009 at 1:59 pm


    You can find WHS for sale on NewEgg. Surprised about MSDNAA; WHS is available on TechNet and MSDN.

  8. Virtuous

    10/12/2009 at 1:18 am

    Microsoft should give every Sidekick owner a free myTouch 3G with 1 year of free data service. At MS there should be a string of resignations beginning with Steve Ballmer’s and Robbie Bach’s.

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