Tuesday, Oct 25, 2016
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T-Mobile: owners of Sidekick lost all personal data; phone made by Microsoft subsidiary

NEW YORK — Owners of Sidekick phones may have lost all the personal data they stored on the phone, including contact numbers.

The phones are made by a Microsoft Corp. subsidiary and sold by T-Mobile USA, which say many Sidekick owners' information is "almost certainly" gone after a failure of servers operated by Microsoft wiped the data out. The companies said they hoped to update customers on recovery efforts Monday.

The phones have been troubled by data outages for more than a week. Some users attempted to restart their phones by removing the battery, which erases data on the device. Normally, the data is then restored from servers, but with the server data gone, the device is left empty.

Because of that, customers are being advised not to let the battery completely run down either.

It's not clear how many customers have been affected, or how many Sidekicks are in operation. The phone has never been a huge seller, but it's very popular among young, urban customers, and it has had a certain cachet as a celebrity phone. Most famously, Paris Hilton used a Sidekick. Users have appreciated its large QWERTY keyboard for text messaging, a feature now copied by mainstream phones.

Microsoft bought Danger Inc., the maker of the Sidekick, last year in an attempt to revitalize its "smart" phone software portfolio.

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