The Sidekick catastrophe: A curse for Microsoft, but a blessing for Motorola?

What began last week as a service disruption for T-Mobile Sidekick users devolved into one of the worst calamities in mobile/cloud synchronization thus far. One week after announcing the prolonged disruption, T-Mobile, its Sidekick service provider Danger, and Danger parent company Microsoft alerted users that the disruption had become a complete failure, resulting in the loss of contacts, calendar entries, to-do lists, and photos which users had synced to the network.

The companies only said that the data loss was attributed to "a server failure at Microsoft/Danger," but there have been rumors that it was actually a joint failure of Microsoft and Hitachi when attempting to update the Danger Storage Area Network (SAN), which failed, and no backup had been performed.

T-Mobile and Microsoft are expected to provide further details of the recovery efforts and remaining issues this afternoon.

In the meantime, T-Mobile's support forums have been jammed with thousands of comments from shocked and appalled customers, wondering what to do and where to turn.

Many are taking this outage as a sign to cease their support for the Sidekick and pick up something new. Because the Android-powered Motorola Cliq goes up for pre-order on T-Mobile this Sunday, and since the device has been marketed to largely the same audience that would use a Sidekick, a significant number of users are considering switching.

"I'm definitely interested in the Cliq," one user wrote in T-Mobile's support forum. "I've been loyal to Sidekicks in the past because of the solid OS & everything (in the past) has worked great. With the LX 09, however, there are more problems than perks. I blame that on the acquisition of Danger by MS."

Indeed, most of the Danger team is now gone, including CEO Andy Rubin who has gone on to become Google's head Android developer.

So with the sentiment that Microsoft has killed the Sidekick at an all-time high and user frustration at a similar zenith, Motorola's launch of the Cliq could scarcely come at a better time.

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