Microsoft claims to have recovered Sidekick data

After what has been seen as one of the most catastrophic cloud computing data loss scenarios ever, T-Mobile Sidekick users have apparently been able to retrieve all of their data. When a botched upgrade left millions of Sidekick owners without precious personal information, it seemed that the lost data was irretrievable. However, just a few days later Microsoft announced that it has been able to restore the data for all but a small minority of Sidekick users.

At first, users were faced with a statement indicating that there was a high likelihood that all of their personal data – which was stored using a cloud computing system – had been destroyed. Users who still had the information stored locally were encouraged to restore their data to the repaired servers.

In an open letter to Sidekick owners, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President Roz Ho stated that after extensive rebuilding and repairs to the damaged systems, Microsoft has been able to completely restore all of the lost data. Outside observers have responded with scepticism, questioning the motives of Microsoft’s actions in the face of widespread criticism.

It was a Microsoft-owned company, Danger, that provided the platform for the Sidekick data storage, but Microsoft has been swift to distance itself from the events that lead to the data loss. It has indicated that the cause of the loss was Danger’s use of a non-Microsoft platform which was independent of Microsoft’s own cloud computing technologies.

Critics see this as Microsoft taking the opportunity to claim credit for restoring the data whilst denying responsibility for the loss itself. Since Danger was bought by Microsoft over a year before the Sidekick scandal, commentators have expressed surprise that Danger was not encouraged to integrate Microsoft technologies into its backup systems.

Mainstream news providers have widely publicised Microsoft’s version of events, although there is little doubt in the minds of some that Microsoft’s disowning of Danger’s platform at the first sign of trouble does not bode well for other Microsoft-owned enterprises. Some would argue that towing the company line in the future may mean granting Microsoft plausible deniability in the face of large scale data loss or similar catastrophe.

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