For a while there it looked like 2009 would be remembered as the Year of the Dead Celebrity. But Michael, Farrah, Walter, Ed, and all the rest may have to move over. This is rapidly becoming the Year the Data Died.
Exhibit A, of course, is the T-Mobile Sidekick Debacle, with Microsoft subsidiary Danger in the key role as the clueless initiator of disaster. ("Gee, I wonder what pushing this button will do...") They screwed the pooch in a half-dozen ways, starting with a weeklong outage that went completely unacknowledged until Sidekick users started kicking up a fuss in forums and the media picked up on it.
Then it took them another few days to warn users to not reboot their Sidekicks (which is the first thing you're told to do when something isn't working right) because that would wipe out their data. Then the announcement last weekend the data was lost forever, followed by another announcement that maybe some of the data wouldn't be lost forever.
T-Mobile -- which appears to be mostly blameless in this scenario, yet is getting a ton of heat for it -- reacted by offering free data service for October, a $100 credit, and a halt to new Sidekick sales, and reportedly is letting people out of their contracts without penalty. No matter; its reputation is still toast.