Microsoft’s Three Screens Get Cloudy Brownwood, TX cloud formation

What happens when Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer outlines a vision of “three screens and a cloud”?

People get interested.

However, interest is quickly tempered in the wake of T-Mobile Sidekick data loss from the cloud — a Microsoft cloud.  The implication is a reminder of the importance of getting things right in a silo or a cloud. The rapidly growing space of enabling cloud technology companies and self proclaimed cloud based service providers will feel this.

Put another way? Oh the pain.

Microsoft acquisitions need not be limited to being a Microsoft shop. This is especially true when considering the managed services companies digested by Microsoft so far such as Hotmail and Jump Networks.

Although Danger’s hiptop Service Delivery Engine (SDE) may not be based on Microsoft products and technology the fallout from being associated with a preferred and seasoned hosting platform for mobile operators will sting Microsoft. A reasonable question might be how does Microsoft reach out to mobile operators in the wake of such a high profile data loss?

Early job postings from Danger, Inc. would indicate that much of the Danger back office was not Microsoft based. Yet, it is not as if Microsoft can point a finger at another company in this matter. Even if migrations to enable greater use of Microsoft technology were even pertinent in the case of this high profile data loss there is no way to save face here.

Simply put, this is a high profile loss of data in the fastest growing market known: mobile. The injection of this being a cloud issue just amplifies the issue. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Indeed, all of this cloud discussion may become fodder for Oracle in certain areas. Yes, Larry Ellison will have a few more minutes of material in his cloud computing standup routine.

While taking a shot at Microsoft might be tempting right now, until the rumors become a root cause analysis it is probably wise for competitors to measure words carefully.  As a market, cloud aligned companies would do well to learn from established service provider history associated with data loss.

Expect Google, Salesforce, and managed service providers to approach this data loss topic with greater emphasis on data portability, user education, and highlighting the importance of personal data protection best practices.  The usual fallout and market grab for hard media copies (CD/DVD/etc.) as a premium service add will likely appear as well.

That said, don’t expect a pile on for Microsoft. Instead, expect greater scrutiny on companies like Amazon, AOL, Comcast (Plaxo), Facebook, and Yahoo regarding their own policies on data ownership and the rights of consumers and businesses to maintain copies of data entrusted to the cloud.