“A week ago, Microsoft’s Danger unit experienced a huge outage that left many T-Mobile Sidekick users without access to their calendar, address book, and other key data. That’s because the Sidekick keeps nearly all its data in the cloud as opposed to keeping the primary copy on the devices themselves,” Ina Fried reports for CNET.

“Things got even worse on Saturday, as Microsoft said in a statement that data not recovered thus far may be permanently lost. It’s not immediately clear how many people lost their data. The outage earlier in the week affected a broad swath of Sidekick users, though many had data return during the week,” Fried reports.

“While outages in the cloud computing world are common (one need only look at recent issues with Twitter or Gmail), data losses are another story,” Fried reports. “And this one stands as one of the more stunning ones in recent memory.”

Fried reports, “The Danger outage comes just a month before Microsoft is expected to launch its operating system in the cloud–Windows Azure.”

MacDailyNews Note: Please see related article: Microsoft names their cloud computing product after a cloudless sky: Windows Azure – October 27, 2008

Full article here.

Pete Cashmore reports for Mashable, “There’s bad news for Sidekick users today: T-Mobile has announced that it was unable to recover Sidekick data after a server failure at Microsoft subsidiary Danger. This means any data not stored on your Sidekick but residing in the “cloud” has been lost.”

Full article here.

T-Mobile’s and Microsoft’s joint press release, verbatim:

T-MOBILE AND MICROSOFT/DANGER STATUS UPDATE ON SIDEKICK DATA DISRUPTION

Dear valued T-Mobile Sidekick customers:

T-Mobile and the Sidekick data services provider, Danger, a subsidiary of Microsoft, are reaching out to express our apologies regarding the recent Sidekick data service disruption.

We appreciate your patience as Microsoft/Danger continues to work on maintaining platform stability, and restoring all services for our Sidekick customers.

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. That said, our teams continue to work around-the-clock in hopes of discovering some way to recover this information. However, the likelihood of a successful outcome is extremely low. As such, we wanted to share this news with you and offer some tips and suggestions to help you rebuild your personal content. You can find these tips in our Sidekick Contacts FAQ. We encourage you to visit the Forums on a regular basis to access the latest updates as well as FAQs regarding this service disruption.

In addition, we plan to communicate with you on Monday (Oct. 12) the status of the remaining issues caused by the service disruption, including the data recovery efforts and the Download Catalog restoration which we are continuing to resolve. We also will communicate any additional tips or suggestions that may help in restoring your content.

We recognize the magnitude of this inconvenience. Our primary efforts have been focused on restoring our customers’ personal content. We also are considering additional measures for those of you who have lost your content to help reinforce how valuable you are as a T-Mobile customer.

We continue to advise customers to NOT reset their device by removing the battery or letting their battery drain completely, as any personal content that currently resides on your device will be lost.

Once again, T-Mobile and Microsoft/Danger regret any and all inconvenience this matter has caused.

HipTop3.com reports, “Microsoft/Danger has most likely lost everyone’s personal info including contacts, notes, calendar entries, to-dos, etc. The question remains: How did this happen? Microsoft is a big software company, they’re well versed in the enterprise world and should have systems in place that allow them to weather any sort of issue like this. Of course everyone (T-Mobile, Microsoft/Danger) hasn’t come out with any details on the cause of the failure, but we’ve got some theories and rumors floating around.”

HipTop3.com reports, “Currently the rumor with the most weight is as follows: Microsoft was upgrading their SAN (Storage Area Network aka the thing that stores all your data) and had hired Hitachi to come in and do it for them. Typically in an upgrade like this, you are expected to make backups of your SAN before the upgrade happens. Microsoft failed to make these backups for some reason. We’re not sure if it was because of the amount of data that would be required, if they didn’t have time to do it, or if they simply forgot. Regardless of why, Microsoft should know better. So Hitachi worked on upgrading the SAN and something went wrong, resulting in it’s destruction.”

“How this happens in today’s day and age is beyond belief. Hundreds of thousands of customers that generate millions of dollars in revenue means you back their stuff up, in triplicate. You test these backups regularly, and you move a copy off site that doesn’t get touched except in case of an emergency (i.e. right now). The head of the mobile division (and person in charge of what’s left of Danger) is Roz Ho, who has been at Microsoft for 18 years,” HipTop3.com reports. “You would think she’d know something about how to run a business.”

HipTop3.com reports, “What does this mean for the future of the Sidekick? Unless Microsoft pulls a miracle out of thin air the Sidekick is dead. People are already jumping ship to other phones with this news, and the exposure of how inept Microsoft is when it comes to the mobile world is huge.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Anyone stupid enough to have trusted Microsoft got exactly what they deserved.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Macvicta,” Robert S.,” and “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]