Friday, October 16, 2009

Update on Sidekick Incident

by John L. Watkins

Earlier this week, I discussed the incident regarding the apparent loss of data for users of the Sidekick phone sold by T-Mobile. Microsoft is now reporting on the T-Mobile website (10/15/09, 1:00 a.m. P.D.T.) that it believes it has recovered most, if not all, of the data.

Although this is good news, it appears that the incident has created considerable negative publicity for cloud computing generally. According to published reports, Microsoft is trying to limit the fallout from the incident, and has stated that the problem arose from technology used by its Danger Inc. subsidiary, which it describes as separate from Microsoft's other and core cloud based technologies.

It is heartening to know that considerable resources have been devoted to retrieving Sidekick users' data. At the same time, as reported in the original post, it appears that cloud providers still often contractually disclaim liability for loss of data.

It has been reported that at least two lawsuits have already been filed over the incident. It will be interesting to follow whether the lawsuits will be pursued if all or most of the data is in fact retrieved. I have not been able to determine whether the Sidekick terms and conditions disclaim liability. If they do, it will be interesting to see whether the limitations are enforced. Also, since the customer's relationship is presumably with T-Mobile and not Danger Inc., it will be interesting to see if any limitations will apply to Danger Inc.

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