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Microsoft's Sidekick restoration turns into farce

Customers face long wait

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Microsoft played spot the difference over the weekend with statements on Saturday and Sunday that hinted at “steady progress” for the recovery of data its Danger subsidiary lost for many Sidekick customers.

Sadly though, the software vendor hasn’t actually delivered the goods yet. Instead it seems to be pinning its hopes on that old adage that if you say the same thing for long enough, it might eventually ring true.

The data loss cockup was sparked by a major server outage at Danger, which provides data services to T-Mobile customers, on 5 October. Since then Microsoft has been on something of a damage limitation exercise by first pointing the finger elsewhere, before claiming that most customers would get their data back by Saturday just gone.

A week ago T-Mobile offered a dire assessment of how much data it expected Microsoft/Danger to recover following the extremely embarrassing server snafu.

"We must now inform you that personal information stored on your device - such as contacts, calendar entries, to-do lists or photos - that is no longer on your Sidekick almost certainly has been lost as a result of a server failure,” it said in a miserable apology on 12 October.

The fallout was huge and Microsoft scurried to paint a more optimistic picture for Danger’s unhappy customers, at the same time some punters threatened legal action against Redmond and T-Mobile.

By Thursday of last week Microsoft was confident enough to claim that most customers would in fact see their information recovered, following the server fiasco that was triggered by synchronised data corruption.

The company’s most recent statement was less enthusiastic, however.

“The Danger/Microsoft team is continuing to work around the clock on the data restoration process. We apologise that this is taking so long, but we want to make sure we are doing everything possible to maintain the integrity of your data,” it said.

“We continue to make steady progress, and we hope to be able to begin restoring personal contacts for affected users this week, with the remainder of the content (photographs, notes, to-do-lists, marketplace data, and high scores) shortly thereafter.” ®

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