T-Mobile Sidekick Data Outage Turns Into Epic Customer Data Fail

This time last week, we thought of the T-Mobile Sidekick data outage as a mere inconvenient outage, but a temporary one. We grossly misunderstimated how badly T-Mobile and Danger/Microsoft could screw things up.

It turns out that their promise that service would be restored “soon” actually meant “never.”

Danger, Inc., now a subsidiary of Microsoft, makes the Sidekick and its platform, and users’ e-mail and other phone data reside on Danger’s servers. Or, well, it did, until something went horribly wrong last week. It turns out that all Sidekick users’ data is lost if it has not been saved on the handset and backed up. However, as loyal Sidekick user Perez Hilton noted, “T-Mobile used to tell Sidekick users they personally didn’t need to back up their data. They did it for us. That’s why I never did. :-(“

Here’s T-Mobile’s latest statement about the situation.


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 at the T-Mobile Sidekick Forums (http://www.t-mobile.com/sidekick ). 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.

Awfully nice of them to let everyone know not to reset the device or let the battery drain now—ten days into the outage.

Our readers have contacted us with sad tales of lost address books, missed business opportunities, and general frustration caused by the data outage…and that was when everyone thought the situation was temporary. Twitter users are also raging using the #tmobilesucks hashtag.

T-Mobile Sidekick Disaster: Danger’s Servers Crashed, And They Don’t Have A Backup [TechCrunch]
T-Mobile Sidekick Out(r)age: Your Data’s Probably Gone Forever [Gizmodo]

(Photo: T-Mobile and TheGiantVermin)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.