On Sidekick troubles, Microsoft points finger at Danger, its own subsidiary


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Microsoft Corp. is now putting space between itself and Danger Inc. -- the now-ironically named subsidiary that created the Sidekick and was responsible a computer network that failed, causing many of the device’s loyal users to lose substantial amounts of personal data.


Microsoft is now emphasizing that the data loss, and the problems that led to it, were limited to a segment of the company’s network that is separate from its core cloud infrastructure.

“The Danger Service platform, which experienced the outage, is a standalone service operating on non-Microsoft technologies, and is not related to Microsoft’s cloud services platform or Windows Live,’ Microsoft spokesperson Tonya Klause wrote in an e-mail. “Other and future Microsoft mobile products and services are entirely based on Microsoft technologies and Microsoft’s cloud service platform and software.’

The Sidekick outage was severe enough that users were warned that their data might not be recovered, an unusual outcome in a technology environment where users are increasingly entrusting their data to large Web firms -- who in turn invest heavily in keeping the data backed up in case of problems.

This was apparently not the case with the Danger Service platform.

Microsoft drew a further distinction between Danger and its other data assets, saying that ‘it’s important to note that for native Microsoft services such as Windows Live, Hotmail, Azure, etc., we write multiple replicas of user data to multiple devices so that the data is available in a situation where a single or multiple physical nodes may fail,’ Klause wrote.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a question about why Danger would have been subject to different standards for data integrity and redundancy, unlike other parts of the company’s worldwide network of servers.

The Sidekick appears to have been taken off the market by Microsoft and its carrier, T-Mobile, on whose site the device is marked ‘temporarily out of stock.’


-- David Sarno