If Microsoft Screwed Up Sidekick, What Hope for Office 2010?

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A Microsoft subsidiary apparently lost Sidekick users’ cloud data. That’s not good when the next versions of Office and Windows Mobile are so heavily dependent on cloud data storage, says Peter Judge 

The dust is settling on the failure of T-Mobile’s Sidekick service in the US, and it looks like Microsoft is at fault. The foul-up for consumers could have serious consequences for the company in the business field.

Microsoft is increasingly trying to give the impression that it “gets” the cloud. It’s promised a cloud version of Office 2010, as a way to compete against the threat of Google Apps, And Steve Ballmer is now promising cloud with every presentation – though always with the caveat that “no one believes in thing clients”.

People will certainly be doubting Microsoft’s thin clients now. Danger, the company the makes the Sidekick, is a Microsoft subsidiary, and it looks like it was a Microsoft-run server failure which lost  the Sidekick data and – by implication – a Microsoft back-up failure which made the loss permanent.

Microsoft has at least two cloud-based initiatives on the way. One major selling point for the generally disappointing Windows Mobile 6.5, is a “free cloud backup” service which Microsoft is calling My Phone.

After the problems with Sidekick, who is going to rush into a Microsoft-run cloud backup service?

And the web-based Office 201http://www.innovate09.co.uk/streaming_live.aspx0 is also dependent on the reliability of data in the cloud.

Google has had to struggle to convince users of the reliability of its service – but has generally had few problems with actually losing data. A temporary outage was enough to raise questions about the cloud but that is a much smaller problem than a permanent loss of data.

Google is now earning large customers for its Google Apps Premier Edition, such as Rentokil, because it has convinced them it is more reliable – in many cases – than the customer’s own in-house IT. 

Microsoft will have a long road to travel before it can claim likewise.


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