"Recent efforts indicate the prospects of recovering some lost content may now be possible," a Microsoft spokesman said in a statement that was duplicated on T-Mobile's support site . "We will continue to keep you updated on this front; we know how important this is to you."
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The news came two days after Microsoft and T-Mobile confirmed that a server failure "almost certainly" meant that users' data had been lost. In a joint message at the time, the companies said that although engineers were working on the problem, "the likelihood of a successful outcome is extremely low."
The outage sparked users to post thousands of messages on T-Mobile's support forums, where most customers raged at the loss , calling it "inexcusable" and beating the drum for a class-action lawsuit.
Sidekicks use the servers run by Microsoft subsidiary Danger Inc. to synchronize the smartphone's content, including contacts, appointments and photos, with a cloud-based storage service. When the servers went down and data on them was lost, that same data was then deleted from Sidekicks whose users had removed the battery in an attempt to reset the device, or had let the phone's battery completely drain.
Some reports had linked the server failure to an upgrade of Danger's storage area network (SAN). Microsoft, however, declined to confirm those reports.
T-Mobile promised customers $100 for their troubles, but with significant caveats. "In the event certain customers have experienced a significant and permanent loss of personal content, T-Mobile will be sending these customers a $100 customer appreciation card," the mobile carrier said. "This will be in addition to the free month of data service that already went to Sidekick data customers. This card can be used towards T-Mobile products and services, or a customer's T-Mobile bill."