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back to article T-Mobile takes on patsy role in Microsoft Sidekick fallout

T-Mobile plans to compensate all Sidekick customers who lost their data following the extremely embarrassing server outage at Microsoft’s subsidiary company Danger on 2 October. The telecoms giant, which markets and distributes the device, is offering Sidekick users who suffered a “significant and permanent” loss of personal …

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Gates Horns

Remuneration

Hopefully T-Mobile can recoup this expense from Microsoft. It should come out of Steve Ballmer's pie budget. There is no excuse for this farce, and it's unacceptable that T-Mobile should take all the flak for it.

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Gates Horns

Opening Gambit?

This has to be an "opening gambit" - right? I can only think that behind the scenes T-Mobile are squeezing Microsoft very, very hard to get compensation from their customers and themselves.

I'll be honest, I can't imagine what that might be - the loss of this data will vary from "mildly annoying" to "desperately serious". I think it would serve T-Mobile far better to explain to customers that they are seeking "appropriate reparations for customers" from Microsoft, though I understand why they don't want to do this. "Here's a $100 gift token" seems like a slap in the face.

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FAIL

It's off with Ballmer's head!

I think Ballmer's head will roll over this. Not immediately. But Microsoft is being run like the Keystone Cops. Especially the mobile division.

Microsoft now says it's hopeful of the data being recovered. How long has it been? 2 and a half weeks so far? The outages began in September. I think it's the Microsoft PR machine working to limit the damage.

Just like Microsoft claiming that the data erasure occurred because it hadn't updated the Oracle server to "Microsoft Technology". MS bought Danger Inc in February 2008. 18 months prior. There's no excuse. It's Microsoft's fault. And whatever technology it runs on is not the cause of the bad data security practices.

This has been a lesson to other mobile networks. Don't trust Microsoft. Your company's reputation will be dragged through the mud (like T-Mobile's).

This has also been a lesson to the public. Microsoft/Windows Mobile = trouble. 2 debacles in one week (the first debacle was the release of Win Mobile 6.5 a few days earlier). Who in their right mind would trust the Windows Mobile 'My Phone' back-up service now?

The chaos and stupidity of Microsoft's mobile division will eventually claim Ballmer's scalp.

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what does it do?

I have had to do some serious googling (3 or 4 pages in..) to find out just what a 'sidekick' does, and therefore what the data loss could be.

Sounds like people are just losing some email.

If they are losing more than that they perhaps should not have backed up to a cloud, since clouds are not solid and just made of vaporised water... much like the data has become.

People continually fail to take responsibility for their OWN data, then wonder and cry when they lose it. (snow leopard etc).

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FAIL

Since t-mobile is taking the hit...

...this likely means that its not actually M$'s fault the failure caused dtata loss.

The firm I'm with has about 3500 x86/64 servers plus a number of other systems including about a dozed mainframes of varying ages. In addition to our owd data processing business lines, being the bulk of the systems, several hundred of those servers and about 100TB of data belong to external customers. You would be SURPRISED how many of them flatly refuse the redundancy services and high availability tier systems we offer. Most agree to basic clustering, many will accept relatively reliable SAN storage (if not mirrored tier 1 RAID10 chassis), but very few will deploy tier 0 or tier 1 availability systems, few pay for redundant networking, and basically none of them have anything more advanced than simply tape backups.

We offer fully redundant systems, at about 2.5 times the cost of standard systems (not bad actually) with standard being defined as at least a tier 3 availability environment (RTO/RPO not more than 24 hours). Customers with multi-million dollar contracts with the government, contingent upon 4 hour recovery times, will often even settle for far less just to save a couple hundred grand. It;s amazing how many people simply do not comprehend how disasterous a disaster can actually be. They have NO CLUE how long it really takes to restore a 40TB database were it actually to fail. The have NO CLUE how difficult a redeployment would be, and how long it would take, if a catastrophic failure (fire, major power issue, mainframe failure)happened. Their MILLIONS of dollars in contract revenue rinde on the decisions to skimp and save a few grand here and a few grand there.

I would not doubt at ALL that T-Mobile did not pay M$ the appropriate fees to have 4 hour full datea recover, and full system replication across multiple sites. They probably valued the user data very low, figuring some clause in a contract about "back up your own data" covered their asses, and did not account for the PR nightmare a data loss for a hosting firm is.

Bean counters simply don;t understand the logistics of server availability and data recovery. The see things like "3-4 times the cost" to move from a tier 2 system to a tier 0 system, and simply figure its so small of a change it's worth saving the million or two on deployment. Then Microsoft says "hey, here it is in writing where we suggested a more resilient design including full data replication and 14 day journaled writes with live rollback support, and here's your signature refusing that and saying tMobile will only pay for tape backups" and follow it up with "and here's the clause absolving us of data loss and SLA requirements because of your refusal to pay, and good luck with your customers..."

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FAIL

TMOB

Jerry

The interesting feature of the sidekick is that there was no possibility of backing up. The cloud in theory should be the safest place for data. However I agree people should check that there data is stored by a body who you trust. Microsoft is obviously not in that category

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Gates Horns

Epic M$ Fail

@jeremy 3 - The Sidekick backs up the users Address book, SMS/MMS, E-Mails, Calendar, Memos & all purchased content from the Sidekick Catalog.

If it was just e-mail, i dont think there would be such an issue, but it's the users entire phone!! The Sidekick does not store any data on the handset, it's all online. If you re-boot the phone, it has to download all your data again.

How do i know?? Im a former Sidekick user.

BTW - This is an Epic M$ fail. They wanted to kill the sidekick device a year ago (6 months after they bought Danger), but T-Mobile said they would sue M$ for breach of contract (i believe). I personally think M$ did this on purpose to make T-Mobile think again about releasing any more Sidekicks. Damn i hate M$.

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Thumb Up

T-Mobile

It couldn't have happened to a better company. I hate T-Mobile far, far worse than I hate Microsoft, and I'm a Linux guy, so that should tell you how much I hate MS. I hope this takes a big chunk out of them financially, and you KNOW there's going to be whale-sized lawsuits soon.

And from many years in a corporate environment, I'm sure it went down a lot like Michael C says.

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@jeremy

Sidekick phones work on a client - server basis and store all their data on the server side. It's supposed to be a feature -- if you lose your phone, or it gets damaged, you're not supposed to lose your data because it's all stored on Danger's servers. There is some local caching; but, chances are the users lost almost all of their data including contact lists, email, pictures, and just about anything else the users had stored "on their phone".

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Bronze badge

@Jeremy

"T-Mobile are squeezing Microsoft very, very hard"

Heh, I'd like to be a fly on the wall in that meeting. What exactly would be T-Mobile's negotiating gambit? "Give us some money or we'll, erm, do our cross faces? And Barry here will fart."

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Gates Horns

I've stopped wishing MS any ill...

I've stopped wishing MS any ill.

I have now transferred all my ill will to organisations who make deals with MS. There's far more opportunities to gloat that way.

Serve t-mobile right.

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Linux

How could anyone trust Microsoft with anything?

If Microsoft did do this intentionally then they certainly didn't think it through very well because it has hurt peoples confidence in the company yet again.

It's hard to believe that their credibility could possibly get any worse than what it already is but it has.

Personally I don't know how anyone could have any confidence in anything that Microsoft does anymore.

Everything that Microsoft does fails since Steve Ballmer took over as CEO.

Personally I wouldn't buy anything from them or anything that has the name Microsoft on it because you have to know that sooner or later they are going to leave you twisting in the wind.

I still use XP but after that I think I will go to Linux or Mac.

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Thumb Down

Microsoft is responsible

Even though I think it's good that T-Mobile gave customers the $100 voucher, I do think that the blame must be placed squarely on Microsoft. T-Mobile has no way to make sure if Danger/Microsoft is doing regular backups on their managed data; the same applies with the Blackberry handsets. All the Blackberry-specific stuff is stored on RIM's servers, and it doesn't matter at all who's your actual carrier. Fortunately, the Blackberry doesn't run on the Sidekick's concept.

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@ jeremy 3

What google have you been using? I have one already but i googled "sidekick" and the first website was t-mobiles own describing exactly what it does

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Coat

Interesting Insight...

Sabotage in Redmond?

http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2009/10/12/microsofts-sidekickpink-problems-blamed-on-dogfooding-and-sabotage/

On a related cloud tack, I just dropped a popular online backup service I took for a test drive that took 10 days to upload 7GB of data unthrottled(and unmonitored, my bad)... sweet, only 360 days to go until all 500GB is safe in the cloud! I gotta wonder, how long would it take to get it back in an emergency? Will it be "sidekicked" out of the cloud when I go to get it?

I believe I will stick with my sneakernet off-site solutions, thanx.

Is that a SATA in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?.

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Unhappy

Michael C may be on to something

Much as I hate to defend microsoft....

If (hypothetical) Microsoft had offered one or more redundancy/backup options to T-Mobile, and T-Mobile passed on them because they didn't want to have to pay for them, then at a minimum this fiasco becomes partly T-Mobile's fault.

While MS was on watch when the ship hit the iceberg and sank, if T-Mobile didn't buy any lifeboats it becomes an interesting court case.

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sleazy

Microsoft probably has a contract with T-Mobile that, like their usual EULAs, puts all the responsibility for Microsoft fuckups onto the client. Yet again, the slimy bastards slither away from taking responsibility for their crap.

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Silver badge

Michael C may be on to something

Rumour on t'internet is that MS had bled Danger dry of all it's tech staff onto it's own smartphone project (Zune phone - don't laugh)

Then they sent in their own server folks to convert everything from Sun+Oracle to MS+SQLServer - like they tried to do at Hotmail. Only this time they didn't do the install on a parallel site.

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Bronze badge

Coy

If I followed the story before, Microsoft bought Sidekick's company for something other than this product, and wanted to drop it and strip out staff, but they were held to a strict contract by T-Mobile, hooray! If they're being coy about exactly how they have then proceeded to lose, essentially, the whole service, of providing and maintaining each customer's communications data store online, well, I assume they're embarrassed. And they're going to be sued very very hard.

Why would you store your data with a product or company called Danger? It's like using an invasestment company named Larceny and then being surprised that they Madoff with your money, waitaminute... I assume that gag was done at the time.

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