RealTime IT News

T-Mobile, Microsoft: Sidekick Data Gone for Good

After a week of service outages for some users of the Sidekick mobile device, U.S. wireless carrier T-Mobile is confirming that data that vanished during the downtime is now permanently lost.

It's a blow not just for T-Mobile, which markets the Sidekick smartphone, but also for Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), which owns the Sidekick's maker, Danger -- which also operates its online services and user data.

As a result, some unlucky users' data, including contacts and stored photos, is now likely to be irretrievable, due to what T-Mobile described as a technical glitch with Microsoft's servers.

"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," T-Mobile said in an update on its support site.

"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," the company said.

The news comes as the latest black eye for major Web players' efforts to deploy and promote new cloud-based services. For instance, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has been contending with interruptions of its Gmail service. Amazon's EC2 service suffered an outage earlier this year that the e-commerce giant blamed on severe weather.

Microsoft has also been placing a growing emphasis on its services in the cloud, courtesy of its Azure strategy, which will see the Redmond software giant hosting applications and app environments on its own servers. Earlier this month, the company showed off one of the key datacenters involved in that effort.

More closely relating to mobile, Microsoft in recent months has also showcased efforts that entail hosting smartphone-like applications in the cloud for mobile users whose phones can't support applications popular on more advanced devices.

For the time being, it's unclear how this month's snafu will impact Microsoft's efforts in the cloud.

"We recognize the magnitude of this inconvenience," Microsoft said in a statement. "We appreciate your patience as Microsoft/Danger continues to work on maintaining platform stability, and restoring all services for our Sidekick customers."

The company also said that it continues to work on restoring customers' lost data, and is "considering additional measures for those of you who have lost your content to help reinforce how valuable you are as a T-Mobile customer." A Microsoft spokesperson did not immediately provide additional details.