It's All Over But The Crying For T-Mobile's Sidekick

On Tuesday, a Microsoft spokesperson initially referred questions about the likelihood of future Sidekick models to T-Mobile, which has sold the smartphone in the U.S. since fall of 2002 but isn't responsible for its development.

When pressed for a definitive answer, the Microsoft spokesperson offered the following e-mailed response: "We cannot comment on any details regarding the future Sidekick roadmap at this time; however, you can be assured that Microsoft will continue to deliver premium mobile experiences for consumers."

In an e-mail response to the same question, a T-Mobile spokesperson offered the following statement: "T-Mobile makes it a practice to not discuss products and services before they've been announced, so we don't have any info to share at this time."

T-Mobile in April unveiled the Sidekick LX 2009, the first Sidekick to run on T-Mobile's 3G data network, and a device that comes with GPS, a 3.2-megapixel camera, YouTube video, and support for Microsoft Exchange. The Sidekick LX 2009 received solid reviews, and expectations were that the device would help expand the Sidekick's profile beyond its core users.

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However, the outage has forced T-Mobile to temporarily halt Sidekick sales. T-Mobile says only a minority of customers lost personal data as a result of the outage, but the incident couldn't have come at a worse time for the struggling carrier.

While blame for the outage lies with Microsoft's Danger subsidiary, which operates the Sidekick service, T-Mobile is getting lumped into the criticism, and that obviously doesn't bode well for Sidekick sales in the near term.

Many T-Mobile customers saw Microsoft's February 2008 acquisition of Danger as a death knell for their beloved Sidekick. And since then, Microsoft's Premium Mobile Experiences (PMX) division has been focusing less on the Sidekick and more on the Pink smartphone, according to a source close to Microsoft.

But Pink development has gone slowly, and a series of questionable management decisions had put the project in jeopardy. If Microsoft kills Pink and doesn't continue to develop the Sidekick, it will have spent half a billion dollars without bringing a product to market.