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T-Mobile, Microsoft tell Sidekick users we “continue to do all we can” to restore data

o John Cox
13.10.2009 kl 12:50 |

After waiting for 51 hours for T-Mobile and Microsoft/Danger to bring clarity to the situation surrounding their service outage, Sidekick phone users at 8:15 pm EDT Monday were treated to 254 words that boiled down to "we're doing the best we can, and we're willing to pay you $100 to be happy about it."

 

After waiting for 51 hours for T-Mobile and Microsoft/Danger to bring clarity to the situation surrounding their service outage, Sidekick phone users at 8:15 pm EDT Monday were treated to 254 words that boiled down to "we're doing the best we can, and we're willing to pay you $100 to be happy about it."

It's not going over well.

On Saturday, T-Mobile promised to update users on the status of their personal data – including contacts, phone numbers, calendaring, and photos – threatened by a major breakdown of Danger's online back-up/restore service. At least to some degree, Danger's servers apparently lacked their own backup/restore service or, if they had one, it failed to work properly.

For nearly 10 days, users of the pioneering Sidekick smartphone and mobile device have been plagued by lost data and flakey connections. Earlier Monday, some users reported their data had been restored, fueling hope, or desperation, among others that the loss might not be as complete as T-Mobile and Microsoft had suggested on Saturday. 

In Monday night's "Microsoft approved statement" posted on the carrier's user forum, the two companies told customers, whose emotional conditions have ranged from anxiety to rage, "We have made significant progress this past weekend, restoring services to virtually every customer. Microsoft/Danger has teams of experts in place who are working around-the-clock to ensure this stability is maintained."

The post provided no details or even hints about what had caused the server failure, how many users were affected, or to what degree they had been affected.

From Sidekick to Gmail: A short history of cloud computing outages

Regarding the threatened data, the two companies were only vaguely and noncommittally optimistic: "T-Mobile and Microsoft/Danger continue to do all we can to recover and return any lost information. Recent efforts indicate the prospects of recovering some lost content may now be possible. We will continue to keep you updated on this front; we know how important this is to you."

One change is that previously T-Mobile said it would compensate affected Sidekick users by crediting them with one month of free data service. The new update post says that "in the event certain customers have experienced a significant and permanent loss of personal content, T-Mobile will be sending these customers a $100 customer appreciation card" in addition to the one month of free service. The $100 can be used "toward T-Mobile products and services, or a customer's T-Mobile bill." Details of the offer will be "sent out in the next 14 days."

Some users posting to the T-Mobile online forum were relatively happy with the statement. "I'm not thrilled about losing my info, and I still think Tmobile handled the whole situation badly, but at least you've recognized that the info lost is worth more than 1 month data service," writes pkschoeder. "I know this might not be the case for those who had business info on their phone, but I think it's a relatively [sic] fair deal for those of us who mostly lost personal info, that while [it] is time consuming and a pain to replace, can be."

"im calling now in regards to my 100.00. will let you all know," promises Emtva21.

Other users said services are still down. "Yeah. I'm missing a lot of contacts, all my calendar events and notes, and I can't even access the internet! So much for virtually all services being returned, right?" writes righteouscookie.

Others were clearly underwhelmed by the "details." Robyn0706 writes, "hah..seriously! wtf...this is BS...I was trying to be patient. But that is the update that everyone has been checking the forum for all day long..that is it?..."

A user named DeathIsMyGift complained the companies' post is too vague. "So basically TMo is saying that 'some' customers will get a $100 customer appreciation card...what about the rest?" this user writes. "How do you pick and choose which customer is worthy of said $100 card? There are still a lot of gray areas here...nothing black and white. Some of us will be compensated and others will not. Unbelievable."

And it was the last straw for deadkicklx: "Great! im going to use that 100 bucks and spend another 100 and break my contract!"

One theme resurfaced that had been repeatedly mentioned over the last two days: legal action. "I lost all sorts of business contacts I made in college. They live all over the country now. I can't get those back. I've lost so much in potential revenue. I really hope Tmobile doesn't legitimately consider this a serious offer. Time for class action [lawsuit]," writes visirale.

Later in the thread, visirale responded to comments by some satisfied users. "My immaterial losses as well as lost leads, contacts, time are far more than $100," this user writes. "I paid Tmobile to provide me reliable phone service and protect my data (the sidekick "cloud" data storage). They didn't live up to it. Now it's their turn to make up for it. Just because you're happy with the bread crumbs doesn't mean we should have to be. I guarantee you lawyers will be lining up to get in on the action that will go down."

A Microsoft spokesperson directed inquiries to the joint statement on the forum Website.

Keywords: Telecommunication  Internet  Hardware Systems  Consumer Electronics  
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