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What the hell happened to StoragePoint?

Does Bill Clinton know?

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An online storage company - once blessed by Bill Clinton - has vanished into thin air, leaving an untold number of users in a data void.

San Diego-based StoragePoint appears to have shut its doors without uttering a word to some users about where their data has gone. Reports have the company providing flaky service over the last couple of months with its storage system shutting down completely last week.

The StoragePoint Web site no longer works, calls to the main number are bounced and the CEO Scott Zimmerman's line has been disconnected. E-mail to Zimmerman has not been returned to sender, so there may be hope. Just don't hold your breath.

StoragePoint was once an industry darling, coming on the scene as a strong presence in the online storage market. Its WebDrive service received accolades from big names during the company's short life. No less than President Bill Clinton was impressed with its technology, according to an archived StoragePoint release from the 2000 Comdex trade show.

"Wow," the President reportedly said, while at StoragePoint's Comdex booth. "You can do that?"

Clinton had just seen a demonstration of StoragePoint's technology for retrieving information off a server with a cell phone. Executives told Clinton that he could retrieve private files without using the White House network by logging onto to WebDrive from any computer. Where would his favorite shots of Monica be now?

Microsoft also awarded StoragePoint one of the first .Net Best awards. This is either a sign of .Net limitations or Microsoft's poor judgement. Or both.

The good times, however, crumbled fast due, in part, to what one former investor called "psycho" actions by Zimmerman.

Investors offered up another round of funding to StoragePoint in 2000, but Zimmerman allegedly turned down the extra cash, deciding instead to layoff half of the company's staff.

"There was a disagreement between the investors and the founders," the former investor said. "Communications were not good. The psycho owner did not want to keep the company going."

But keep going it did. One user reports being able to access his online account as of July 15, only to be denied a couple of days later. The user pegs StoragePoint's demise happening between July 16 and July 18.

A check into StoragePoint's DNS records shows that Zimmerman was a reserved fellow. No telephone numbers are listed. Only a bunch of 9s. And no Scott Zimmerman listed in the San Diego phone book would return calls seeking comment.

Maybe Zimmerman has toddled off for a holiday after a stressful five years in the online storage space.

While the Web is littered with StoragePoint references from 1999 to 2001, there are few mentions of the company since. How many users did it have? How many have been affected by what appears to be a rather sudden collapse? ®

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