Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sidekick Debacle is now a Class Action Lawsuit

Many people ask me what I have against Microsoft. After all, they gave the world MS DOS, Windows 95, Excel, and Word, right? Yes, but for every great success they have a parallel case of taking something great, and tearing it down for no apparent reason. Newest example: The T-Mobile Sidekick.

For those who may not remember, if you were a happy SmartPhone user in the days before the iPhone - and were not a Crackberry addict - odds are you used a T-Mobile Sidekick (a.k.a. Danger HipTop). This device was a beautifully-designed (albeit somewhat chunky) phone built from the ground up for e-mail, web browsing, and instant messaging. At a time when people were debating how many characters should be displayed on a black-and-white text-only "mobile website", the Sidekick was rendering CNN in full-color with graphics. And all data synced effortlessly with online servers from which users could view all the info as easily as MobileMe is today, or could download data to Outlook. I owned a Sidekick II and III, and loved them both as they kept me connected places that broadband and even dial-up could not reach. I only left the line when the iPhone came out.

This past year, Microsoft - in an attempt to salvage its failing Windows Mobile/Windows Phone/Windows CE line of phones - bought out Danger and took ownership of the whole system which they transformed into "Project Pink". This past week, Microsoft attempted to do a basic upgrade of their storage system for the online data services which failed catastrophically. And apparently, they had failed to do regular backups, so there was no fallback position. Critical customer data was lost, and T-Mobile was forced to advise Sidekick owners "not to turn off your phones" lest the data be lost forever. This one event has likely doomed the Sidekick and Project Pink forever, and cast a shadow over "Cloud Computing" for the future.

Now, T-Mobile is being sued for the data loss in to separate class-action lawsuits. Look for this to quickly be followed up by lawsuits by T-Mobile against Mocrosoft, and perhaps by Microsoft against the people who sold them Danger. This is going to be a messy blame game for all involved.

Rest in Peace, Sidekick. You'll be sorely missed.

UPDATE 2:45 PM: Microsoft now claims all data has been recovered. Here's hoping they are right.

1 comment:

edwin sanchez said...

Wow...I wasnt really expecting this...