Microsoft's subsidiary Danger, purchased in 2008,
is one of the most extensive adopters of cloud computing. All
customers of the company's Sidekick phones use cloud services from
Danger to provide information to contacts, calendars, IM and SMS,
media player, and other applications on phone, and conversely to
store data from these apps. The service seemed convenient and
However, Danger has experienced a catastrophic
computing failure – starting Friday October 2, customers across
the country began to lose their service. The entire weekend the
service remained out, with service finally being restored by Tuesday,
Then came the bad news for Danger's customers -- it
had lost all of their data, including personal items like pictures.
States a T-Mobile message to subscribers, "Regrettably, based on
Microsoft/Danger’s latest recovery assessment of their systems, 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 at Microsoft/Danger."
users to keep their phones on and charged during the outage.
According to Engadget the company has also suspended
sales of the Sidekick phones.
The disaster places
Microsoft in an awkward position. A strong supporter of cloud
computing, producing the first widely available cloud operating
system -- Windows
Azure -- Microsoft obviously believed the practice to be sound.
And with Danger producing Microsoft's upcoming
phones, codenamed "Pink", it seems likely that Danger
was going to deliver service to the phone via the cloud.
now the fallout is mostly on Danger's shoulders, but Microsoft has to
weigh whether to risk taking such a public relations hit on its own
phones by opting for services from the cloud. When it comes to
cloud computing, it's clear that while the idea is promising, poor
implementations and lack of redundancy can mean major headaches for all parties involved.