Who Owns Your Sidekick Data?

from the bad-marketers dept

Ever since the Danger Hiptop launched as the T-Mobile Sidekick, we’ve been complaining at Techdirt about what a bad decision they made in not opening up the platform for developers. The whole reason the Palm devices originally caught on was because they cultivated a huge loyal group of developers – who made the device much more useful. However, it took months for the Sidekick to even offer a developer kit for developers – and then it came with the horrifying news that those developers couldn’t even offer the software to Sidekick users, themselves. All software would first have to go through a T-Mobile vetting process, after which T-Mobile might give you the option to download it (probably for a fee). The people I’ve spoken to at Danger about this all claim this was a T-Mobile marketing decision, and they agree that it’s a huge mistake. However, the story gets even worse. Over at BoingBoing, they’re pointing out that T-Mobile apparently owns everything on your device. They recently announced that they’re no longer supporting the games they shipped with the color Sidekick. There are programs that are “no longer supported” all the time – but in this case, T-Mobile is going to simple erase the games from everyone’s Sidekick. So, while you might think that you bought a device (like a computer) that you control, that is not the case. Imagine if you bought a Dell and it came with Microsoft Office. Then, Dell and Microsoft had a spat, and Dell decided to no longer support Microsoft Office. If Dell worked the way T-Mobile does, they would then remove Microsoft Office from your computer without you having the slightest say in the matter. If you buy a device, you should be free to use it and to load whatever you want onto it. I’m sure this is T-Mobile’s fault, rather than Danger’s, but this continued backwards thinking is going to be the death of Danger – who has produced a really great device.

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