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15 October 2009, 14:48

Microsoft restores Sidekick customer data

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Zoom The T-Mobile Sidekick mobile phone.
Microsoft is reporting a successful outcome in restoring customer data for subscribers to T-Mobile's USA's Sidekick smartphone service, data which was deleted following a server failure at Microsoft's Danger subsidiary. Roz Ho, Microsoft's Vice President for "Premium Mobile Experiences", reports, that "most, if not all," of the data has been restored. The data will now be checked and, starting with address data, made available to customers. This will be followed by additional personal data, such as calendar entries, notes, task lists and pictures.

Ho explains that a "system failure" caused data loss in the main database and the back-up. The system was, reports Ho, restored component by component. The process took a significant amount of time in order to ensure data integrity. According to Ho, the company has improved data stability and made the back-up process more resilient, in order to ensure that Sidekick customers do not face this kind of data loss in future.

On Tuesday Microsoft revealed that a server failure responsible for the loss had occurred at service provider Danger on 2nd October. T-Mobile USA and Microsoft/Danger informed customers of the problem over the weekend. Affected customers were subsequently offered compensation in the form of a voucher to the value of $100. Microsoft is now working on the assumption that only a minority of Sidekick users are affected. T-Mobile has sold over a million Sidekick smartphones in the US.

Customers include the daughter of US citizen Maureen Thompson, who, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper's web log, has now launched a class-action suit against T-Mobile USA and Microsoft. The web log states that the daughter, a sidekick customer, had stored her appointments, business contacts and song lyrics with Danger. The suit states that Microsoft and T-Mobile USA had acted negligently by failing to make adequate investment in reliable technology. The plaintiff is demanding monetary damages for this and for false advertising. According to US media reports, a further lawsuit is being filed.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is attempting to distance itself from Danger, which it acquired in early 2008. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, an email from Microsoft spokesman Tonya Klause emphasises that Danger is a standalone platform and has no connection with Microsoft's cloud services or Windows Live. Klause points out that the latter services store multiple copies of user data on multiple devices, so that user data remains available should one or more servers fail.

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