By Harry McCracken | Sunday, October 11, 2009 at 12:52 am
I’ve always admired the Sidekick smartphone–the first one was the first really good pocketable Web device–but found the name of the company behind it, Danger, kinda discordant. Now it appears to be prophetic: As Engadget is reporting, this week’s service disruption appears to be the least of Sidekick users’ worries. The T-Mobile forums have a message from T-Mobile and Danger (which is now part of Microsoft) saying that any data not currently on user’s devices has most likely been lost:
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.
Breathtaking. Extended Internet-related service outages are commonplace, but major examples of data loss involving large companies aren’t so common. (This brings to mind Ma.gnolia’s meltdown in January, but that service was run by one guy–not by the largest software company in the world.) It’s going to be fascinating to hear Microsoft’s explanation of what happened, and why it apparently has no usable backup of its customers’ data. And to see just what long-term effect this has on the Danger platform, which is supposedly the basis for Microsoft’s allegedly troubled “Pink” phone project.
My assumption is usually that big Internet-savvy companies are going to do a better job of religiously backing up data than I am, but this is a wake-up call: None of us really have a clue how safe our data is when it’s stored in the cloud. Not to mention a massive embarrassment for Microsoft