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More On T-Mobile's Sidekick Meltdown

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The only thing worse than being the poor schmo who works in public relations for T-Mobile, Microsoft Danger or Hitachi right now, would be those poor Sidekick users who have had the week from hell.

T-Mobile is now offering a $100 gift certificate for future products or services (including the monthly bill) to customers who lost all their data. This is in addition to a free month of service.

Not all Sidekick subscribers have lost their data. However, the interuptions alone have reportedly affected some 800,000 people.

Starting this week, T-Mobile also pulled all of its Sidekick inventory off the market.

The Sidekicks are all listed as "temporarily out of stock" on the T-Mobile web site. That's more like "temporarily out of credibility", but okay...

For those of you new to the story; very briefly:

1. T-Mobile subscribers who use a Sidekick smartphone have been experiencing various service interuptions for over a week now.

2. Matters came to a head over the weekend, when T-Mobile and Microsoft Danger (Danger is a subsidiary of Microsoft and is sub-contracted out to provide data storage for Sidekick-ers in their cloud) had to put out a joint statement advsing users not to reset or remove thier batteries for fear of permanently losing data (like phone contacts, e-mails, text messages, etc.). Many subscribers apparantly already had forever lost their data.

3. Being a holiday weekend with nothing else to write about, tech reporters went into overdrive sniffing out said cause of said meltdown. Apparantly, Microsoft Danger outsourced an upgrade to their SAN (Storage Area Network) to Hitachi. Hitachi didn't back up all that lovely data before doing the upgrade.

4. Oops!

Kicker Alert:

In case you haven't put it together; The aptly named company, Danger (that subsidiary of Microsoft at the center of this kerfuffle) was bought by Microsoft last year. Danger is the company that makes the Sidekicks.

Microsoft really, really wants to get into the smartphone bid-ness (as we say in Texas) and is working on a new line of smartphones that will replace the Sidekick line. It's code-named "Pink". Here's a picture of a prototype off the web site, Gizmodo , from earlier this year.

Lingering questions:

1. What if you are a Sidekick customer that is so disgusted and bitter from this whole fiasco that you want to just cancel your service altogether? What good is a $100 gift certificate? I personally hate those gift certificate offers in the wake of bad service for this very reason. Let's be honest. It's an attempt to a) keep you from walking away mad b) give you something that looks a lot higher in value than it really is when you consider the actual cost to the company and c) offer cheap compensation to avoid the kind that comes from a class action lawsuit.

2. Uh, after all this, is the problem fixed? Since the phones have been taken off the market for now, one can assume the answer is "no". Why?

3. If Sidekick service is so sketchy that T-Mobile isn't selling them right now, then what's a Sidekick user supposed to do right now? I'm not hearing of any offers to go into stores and switch to another model as a loner until this is all sorted out. How long are Sidekick users supposed to just deal with the circumstances until Microsoft and T-Mobile get their acts together?

4. Do you hear the sound of giggling right now? That's the PR folks at AT&T who've been taking a beating lately for dropped calls in epidemic proportions due to the overwhelming bandwidth demand of all those iPhone users.

Last updated: Oct 13, 2009




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