Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sidekick implosion: Was it sabotage?

Sidekick implosion: Was it sabotage?

Insider tells blogger/author of "clueless idiots"
By John Fontana ,

The Sidekick implosion, which wiped out user data, may have been the result of sabotage, according to blogger and author Daniel Eran Dilger, who quotes "insiders" familiar with the situation.

"Sources point to longstanding management issues, a culture of 'dogfooding,' and evidence that could suggest the issue was a deliberate act of sabotage," Dilger says on his blog Roughly Drafted.

Dilger says the sabotage claim is tied to tensions inside Microsoft. His blog post outlines how decisions related to Pink, a smartphone project inside Microsoft, and Danger, a Microsoft subsidiary, led to a level of animosity within the company that may have boiled over with a deliberate takedown of Sidekick.

Dilger quotes his inside source as saying the Pink project existed before Danger was acquired and that contractual obligations delayed Danger's engineers from immediately joining Pink. When they did, the source said, "innumerable bad decisions had already been made by clueless idiots."

The source describes Microsoft as "dysfunctional," a condition that led to mismanagement of the year-old, $500 million Danger acquisition.

Dilger's source goes on to describe how improbable a scenario it is for Microsoft to attempt an upgrade to the Sidekick service, which stores a user's contacts, calendar, photos and other data, without backing up that information.

The outage has brought howls from users who apparently have no way to recover their lost data from Sidekick, a cloud service offered by T-Mobile but run on the back-end by Danger.

The source says one scenario for the problem could be that Microsoft wanted to use its own technology to run Sidekick – what it often calls "eating its own dog food" – and blew an attempt to replace Sidekick's Oracle Real Application Cluster.
Dilger says there is evidence to suggest "there was no reason for a major transition or upgrade to be occurring” because Microsoft was interested in Danger's phone expertise and not the Sidekick service. His conclusion: "intentional sabotage by a disgruntled employee."

In any other case, Dilger writes, Microsoft and T-Mobile would have discussed "mitigating circumstances, blaming bad hardware, a power failure, or some freak accident."

"This is a catastrophic failure of the worst possible kind. Like I said, I can't think of any innocent explanation for all user data to have been lost permanently, and for the service to still be down," said the source.

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