T-Mobile, which owns the Sidekick brand, has suggested that some of the data, which includes contacts, email and SMS messages, may be recovered. If not, it will give customers a $100 gift card.
Danger, a Bay Area-based smartphone server, designed the Sidekick and manages the servers where the data was stored. It was purchased by Microsoft for $500 million and now figures in MIcrosoft's plans -- dubbed the "Pink Project" -- to develop its own smartphone.
Two scenarios are presented. In one, Microsoft was in a rush to upgrade the servers and convert them from an Oracle database to the company's own systems -- called "dogfooding," after the phrase "eating your own dog food" which describes using internal company technology instead of that from outside vendors.
In the other, a disgruntled employee at Danger who might have resented the acquisition and the Pink Project team's pride of place within the parent company, might have deliberately sabotaged the system.
Either way, it's bad news for Microsoft as the failure darkens the prospects for its other cloud computing initiatives and smartphones that run Microsoft software -- not to mention an expensive settlement for the likely breach of a service contract with T-Mobile.
Photo by Andrew Currie.