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Microsoft says lost Sidekick data will be restored to users

October 15, 2009 |  9:32 am
A 2007 Microsoft/T-Mobile Sidekick. Credit: Krisopher Avila / Flickr

The unusual case of the missing Sidekick data may be nearing its conclusion.

Microsoft Corp. announced this morning that most or all users of its Sidekick mobile device might indeed see their lost data again. The announcement came after a week of worry that users' contacts, notes, photos and other virtual property may have been lost for good when company servers failed.

"We plan to begin restoring users’ personal data as soon as possible," wrote Roz Ho, Microsoft's corporate vice president of Premium Mobile Experiences, adding that the company now believed the outage affected a minority of Sidekick users.

"We have determined that the outage was caused by a system failure that created data loss in the core database and the backup," Ho explained in a statement. "We rebuilt the system component by component, recovering data along the way. This careful process has taken a significant amount of time, but was necessary to preserve the integrity of the data."

Ho said Microsoft would offer another update on the data restoration by Saturday.

If indeed the data are restored, Microsoft may dull the negative echoes of the episode, which initially looked to be one of the worst incidents of online data loss in memory, with many of the device's reported 1 million users suffering a complete wipe of many months of irreplaceable information. At least two lawsuits have been filed against Microsoft and Sidekick carrier T-Mobile.

In an e-mail Wednesday evening, Microsoft sought to show that the problem was isolated to servers run by its Danger Inc. subsidiary, which it said was not part of its main "cloud" infrastructure. "Other and future Microsoft mobile products and services are entirely based on Microsoft technologies and Microsoft’s cloud service platform," the company said.

-- David Sarno