Cloud Computing, Hardware, Technology Security

30 days later: SideKick still broken, Microsoft lost in cloud

Has it been 30 days already? Since October 3, many Sidekick users have been waiting for T-mobile and Microsoft to find their address books, notes, photos, and calendars. We wrote about the lost data on October 11.

Then, there was hopeful news on October 16, that subscribers? data just might be recoverable. Microsoft conjured up more promises as of October 20, and Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer characterized the recent Sidekick data loss episode as "not good." A major understatement.

On October 20, Microsoft said they had a tool that will enable all Sidekick subscribers to view the contacts they had on their device as of October 1. However, many Sidekick subscribers have found the reality is much different than the promise. For them, they will be in the same place tomorrow, as they were a month ago, just plain SOL.

Last Friday, we asked the T-Mobile press person for an update. They said the following: "T-Mobile is pleased that Microsoft/Danger has successfully recovered contacts for most Sidekick users following the recent outage. We continue to work around the clock to support Microsoft in its continued efforts to restore data for Sidekick customers.

For continuing updates, please refer to the Sidekick forum, where you can find the most up-to-date information regarding the outage.?

If you are a SideKick subscriber and you have lost all or part of your address books, notes, pictures, and calendar – you are clearly not very impressed with T-Mobile, Sidekick, nor Roz Ho, Corporate Vice President, nor CEO Steve Ballmer at Microsoft, nor Danger’s server farm staff. We are reminded of Alice in Wonderland, where the Red Queen screamed "off with their heads." We are sure that some of the SideKick users would agree.

Danger, now owned by Microsoft, the designer of the Sharp manufactured Sidekick [not so smart] smartphone made an intentional decision that doesn’t allow importing and exporting of data like contacts [unless you purchased the $35 Intellisync product or the discontinued Missing Sync for Hiptop product]. They built it this way to made conversion to another mobile handset much harder to do. A user would have to laboriously email or Bluetooth single contacts to a new mobile phone.

When you go to the T-Mobile Forum you will find many subscribers who have posted their complaints. We decided to share with you some of those comments and comments from other blogs and forums about the problems SideKick has given them. It would not be in the best interest of the person who posted the comments to provide you with a link nor show the complete quote. Instead, we will give you some snippets.

One user said that he could back up 250 of his contacts on his SIM card, but that was all. He explained that he has about 600 contacts on Sidekick along with business, birthdays, and email address information ? none of which you can back up to the SIM card. Another person said they had 850 contacts. Gone. Another person said they had $40 in games that have not been found. The saddest tale is the subscriber who had his data restored. However, disaster of disasters, the contacts are not his own, they belong to another SideKick subscriber ? he called a few of those phantom contacts and confirmed his suspicion.

Then, there are the complaints about how T-Mobile has not done a good job of treating their customers fairly during the past month. We do not have a Sidekick [our purchasing decision was made upon questionable cloud store decisions and data security issues such as Paris Hilton Sidekick affair] so we cannot personally say how well customer support did their job. The forums and blogs are full of tales about support reps hanging up on customers. For a while, there were stories about T-Mobile’s Forum deleting negative comments. Subscribers complained about not getting the $20 dollar rebate, nor the $100 rebate.

Clearly, T-Mobile is between a rock and a hard place. They are at the mercy of Microsoft and Danger, who have failed to adequately protect Sidekick subscribers? data. Somebody at Microsoft and Danger should take personal responsibility, and some of the people who failed to do their job properly should be fired. At some point the attorneys are going to become involved.

A big portion of T-Mobile’s business has been halted. The Bellevue, Washington based company still is not selling Sidekick smartphones, neither online, nor in their retail stores.

T-Mobile Sidekick - "Temporarily Out of Stock" 30 days after affair broke

[Click to enlarge]

We are sure that Deutsche Telekom (DT) attorneys, T-Mobile USA’s parent company, will have their say before DT’s shareholder meeting on November 19, 2009 in Hannover, Germany.

Last week, we told you that Sprint announced they had a net loss of 801,000 postpaid subscribers during 3Q 2009. Last year T-Mobile USA announced their 3Q financial in the first week of November. Anyone care to guess how many subscribers T-Mobile USA wil
l acknowledge they lost during 3Q 2009?

The question is, how much will the SideKick fiasco cost Microsoft? We would bet there are SLA [service level agreements] in place between T-Mobile and Microsoft. Normally, these kinds of agreements have a financial penalty for service interruptions and loss of subscribers? data. If not, then the T-Mobile attorneys would made a big mistake – however, we have heard rumors that the cost to Microsoft will be $700,000 per day, and we have entered 30th day of outage, meaning Microsoft lost some 21 million USD to date. This would not be the final number. Some rumors about the final cost are in the $250 to $750 million range, because of business interruption, loss of SideKick smartphone sales, and damage to T-Mobile’s reputation.

Last week, Microsoft data center’s "cloud" business suffered a serious set back when the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to approve a $7.2 million deal to shift about 30,000 city workers over to Google Apps in the next year. Microsoft was the other high-profile bidder for the contract. They spent a lot of money sending executives and consultants to Los Angeles to explain their "cloud". We suspect the on-going saga at Sidekick had a major impact on the final decision to go with Google.