Microsoft continues to work on the T-Mobile Sidekick data loss situation, posting a link on the My T-Mobile Website on Oct. 20 allowing users of the smartphone to restore their personal contacts, albeit incompletely in some cases. Other information such as photographs and notes will be restored at a later date. A server failure at Microsoft subsidiary Danger reportedly led to the personal data loss for some of the 800,000 Sidekick owners earlier in October.
has released a recovery tool for T-Mobile Sidekick owners who lost their
personal data due to a catastrophic server failure earlier in October. The
hardware in question reportedly belonged to Microsoft subsidiary Danger.
Starting Oct. 20, Sidekick users can sign onto the My
Website to access a recovery tool that will restore contacts to
"This tool will enable you to view the contacts you had on your device
as of Oct. 1," Microsoft wrote in an Oct. 20 message on the T-Mobile
"With a few clicks and a confirmation, you will be able to
restore these contacts to your Sidekick. If you have recreated some of the same
contacts on your Sidekick since Oct. 1, you can choose to keep both sets of
contacts, merge them or just keep the set of contacts now on your device."
Users will be able to edit any partial or complete duplicates after restoration.
Microsoft said the next phases of the process will see photographs, notes,
to-do lists, marketplace data and high scores ported back onto Sidekicks.
Messages left by Sidekick users on the T-Mobile forums throughout the
morning, though, suggest that the contact restoration has not been an entirely
"I just restored my contacts and I only have 64 contacts out of the 300
that I had before," wrote
one T-Mobile Sidekick user,
"and some of the names are blank without
"It worked for me; however, I noticed that I have a few names but no
numbers," wrote another. "I don't know what's up with that. But at
least this is a start. Hopefully they won't [magically] disappear like they did
"I got 34 of 62 contacts back, including some that are name only,"
commented a third. "I'm adding them one by one to my SIM
card, because I don't trust that they are going to stay on my phone."
Microsoft had previously said in an Oct. 18 statement it would begin
restoring personal data to users over the course of the week. The T-Mobile
Website continues to list its Sidekick smartphones as "Temporarily Out of
Stock," with sales likely being suspended until data service is fully
restored. T-Mobile previously offered its Sidekick customers a $100 T-Mobile
gift card and a month of free data service in recompense for the trouble, but
users on the T-Mobile Forum seem of two minds as to whether those moves are
sufficient for days' worth of data loss.
However, the situation seems more reparable than it did on Oct. 10, when
T-Mobile issued a statement suggesting that user data had been permanently
lost: "Based on Microsoft/Danger's latest recovery assessment of their
systems, we must now inform you that personal information stored on your device
... almost certainly has been lost as a result of server failure at
Microsoft/Danger," it read.
Reuters previously reported that the Sidekick data had been stored on a
proprietary system belonging to Danger, which was acquired by Microsoft in
2008. Originally started to provide software and services for mobile handsets,
Danger suffered employee loss after the Microsoft acquisition that could have
negatively affected the ability to manage that hardware.
The Sidekick situation could affect how Microsoft handles the rollout and
maintenance of "Project Pink," its much-rumored branded smartphone
predicted to roll out in early 2010. Microsoft itself has refused comment on
the scuttlebutt, but sites
such as 9to5Mac have alleged that a hybrid Microsoft and Danger team
been developing two smartphones with a form factor similar to that of the