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Microsoft Explains Windows Phone 7 'Phantom Data'

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the it-was-the-other-guy dept.

Microsoft 270

Fuzzy Eric writes "Microsoft has confirmed that some handsets running its Windows Phone 7 software are sending and receiving 'phantom data.' The problem surfaced in early January with some owners of phones running Windows Phone 7, claiming that their phone was sending 'between 30 and 50MB of data' every day; an amount that would eat into a 1GB allowance in 20 days. Microsoft said its investigation found that most problems were caused by a unnamed 'third party' service. It said that the problem seemed to only affect 'a small (low single-digit) percentage of Windows Phone customers.'"

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270 comments

NSA (4, Funny)

qbast (1265706) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938744)

No wonder that this third-party service remains unnamed. After all NSA stands for 'no such agency'.

Re:NSA (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34938806)

No wonder that this third-party service remains unnamed. After all NSA stands for 'no such agency'.

Ahem: "No Such Application"

Re:NSA (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34938818)

What a piece of crap. Or do you think the NSA is incapable of making sure any covert channels aren't accounted for when calculating traffic?

No, this is either MS trying to shift the blame away from them, or just trying to avoid litigation or offending some partner.

Re:NSA (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938870)

Somebody's gotta pay for that data, and if the government wont... [arstechnica.com]

Re:NSA (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939430)

Yes the NSA is your telco network, so its free ride for them.
The FBI would just outsource to its wiretap/phone billing software contractors.
Was it like George Koronias of Vodaphone in Greece or Adamo Bove, head of security at Telecom Italia?
Or did MS just 'google' and test to see if 3rd party marketing could get away with a nice daily ad database update?
A security hardware/software backdoor, marketing or just MS been MS and alpha testing on your mobile plan?

Re:NSA (1, Insightful)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939612)

OR, an even more obvious answer, it could be a third-party service that is only affecting a very low percentage of phone users. Just because it is a MS phone doesn't instantly mean it is time to don the tinfoil hats. MS is into making money, not "destroying people's lives through software" as the groupthink at Slashdot sometimes assumes. (Unless there is serious profit in destroying lives, but so far that isn't the case.)

MS Fault Playbook: Two Answers (5, Insightful)

blunte (183182) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938764)

1. No Answer

or

2. We found the problem. It wasn't our fault, and it doesn't matter because it's not happening to anyone. (lie)

Re:MS Fault Playbook: Two Answers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34938900)

1. No Answer

or

2. We found the problem. It wasn't our fault, and it doesn't matter because it's not happening to anyone. (lie)

I can believe it's not happening to anyone - has anyone got one??

Re:MS Fault Playbook: Two Answers (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34939126)

1. No Answer

or

2. We found the problem. It wasn't our fault, and it doesn't matter because it's not happening to anyone. (lie)

I can believe it's not happening to anyone - has anyone got one??

This is Slashdot. If they do have one, they won't admit it out of shame.

Poster: "I'm a drug addled pervert."

Slashdot: "Whatever"

Poster: "I love Windows 7 and Microsoft products!"

Slashdot: "You sick fuck! How could you be so STUPID! Get the fuck outta here you godforsaken creep!"

Re:MS Fault Playbook: Two Answers (4, Interesting)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939164)

We found the problem. It wasn't our fault, and it doesn't matter because it's not happening to anyone. (lie)

Until Microsoft say which service causes this (so it can be independently verified by users) then you just have to assume that it is a lie. Normally I like to give the benefit of the doubt (and it does seem feasible that a 3rd party app is responsible, but like you said, this follows the standard style of PR spin that most companies employ.

This would not be a problem if the mobile OS actually valued the customer over the developers and phone companies. My last Symbian phone prompted the user to give permission to any app that wanted to access the Internet. No spyware under the guise of a game here, no 3rd party services chewing up quota, no apps being just thin layers over websites.

I hate seeing that circle animation that says data access is happening on my iPhone for something that shouldn't need it. Even worse, I hate the fact that on the iPhone the developer can turn off that display so you don't know if any connection has occured. Evil. I presume that the Windows Phone does the same thing.

Re:MS Fault Playbook: Two Answers (1)

MikeDirnt69 (1105185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939274)

+1 Awful Truth

"Unnamed third party service" being (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938782)

cia or nsa ?

Re:"Unnamed third party service" being (4, Insightful)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938948)

I will put money on it not being anything like that interesting.
It'll probably turn out to be either a crucial app vendor or a launch partner that they don't want to annoy - e.g. if it turned out that one of the HTC apps or the Facebook app was doing it. Until they know for sure, and work out how to fix it they probably want to be a little coy about what's causing it.
Anyway, it's not affecting that many users as far as I can tell. I've got an HTC Mozart for work that's not doing it, after checking my data usage.

Re:"Unnamed third party service" being (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939568)

Either way, how come it doesn't ask for permission to transmit (and detail what gets transmitted), like most modern smartphones require? You know, that privacy thing everyone keeps harping on?

That alone would (well, should) make people leery before buying one.

Who gets the 1GB plan? (0)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938790)

I'm not saying the phantom data isn't bad, I think every kind of phantom is bad, but who on earth gets a smart-phone and signs up for the 1GB a month plan? Do they even have those?

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (1)

jfbilodeau (931293) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938822)

I have a 500MB plan, and it works for me. I'm cheap. Of course, I don't have a Windows phone.

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (2, Insightful)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938862)

Damn... I would ask you to take a picture and send it to me for proof, but I don't want you to go over your limit.

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (3, Funny)

jfbilodeau (931293) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938916)

I would be happy to show you, but my account cuts me off automatically when I hit my download li---

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (4, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939238)

I'd reply, but he won't be able to read it until next month.

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939176)

I have a friend who is on the lowest level plan that AT&T offers for the iPhone, and was able to afford one when the plans switched from unlimited only to a tiered system. She really doesn't need unlimited data, since the bulk of her data use is done via wifi with 3G/Edge for those handy times when she needs it. I say "can now afford" not in that "children going hungry" sense, but that her budget was reasonable for a new phone, but with her usage patterns the cost of an unlimited/huge plan would have been a waste.

Not every customer needs an unlimited/giant plan.

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (2)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939524)

Not every customer needs an unlimited/giant plan.

That's very true, but the way the tiers work is really designed to screw the customer anyway. If they didn't want to do that, they'd bill you based on which tier your usage patterns fit into, rather than you adjusting your usage patterns to fit a specific tier.

I'm happily on AT&T's unlimited plan, and it works well for me: I've got some months where I pull 1 gig, and one where I've pulled as high as 6. Granted, it's mostly from video.

The real problem with the cost of a smartphone is that the baseline price for it is the same as for a dumb phone or a feature phone. With smartphones and their "required" data plans being the only offerings available with the features that the customers want these days---I can't tell you the number of people I know who couldn't care less that their Blackberry is uber-secure or receives emails for them; they bought the phone because it's great for texting (*cha-ching* goes the Verizon cash register)---people often find that getting what they want out of their next phone yields a mandatory upgrade in their monthly bill as well.

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (2)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939522)

Damn... I would ask you to take a picture and send it to me for proof, but I don't want you to go over your limit.

Too late. Today's the 20th.

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938878)

I'm on a 1Gb/month plan (Nexus One), but between Wi-Fi and not streaming video 24/7 I've only pulled 2.5Gb of Cell data in the last 9 months.

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (2)

tripy (1753236) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938886)

Well, in my country, 1Gb is almost the biggest dataplan any phone company offers, and it costs me 45$ per month . I could have an "unlimited" data plan for 150$ per month, but this price is simply outrageous. And no, I don't live in the tird world, in central Europe actually. Switzerland, where not everyone is a rich banker that promote tax evasion...

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (2)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938952)

Actually, in my experience cell phones are much cheaper in the 3rd world. For 30 bucks in most of Africa you can get a cell phone and more minutes than you could ever use. I'm not sure about smart-phones over there, but the basic cell phone service is astoundingly cheap.

We in the "1st" world are being cheated by carriers.

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (2, Insightful)

piripiri (1476949) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939280)

Well for 30 bucks in Africa you can feed for one month.

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (3, Funny)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938990)

It costs me $30/mo for unlimited data.

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (1)

muyla (1429487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939628)

I live in Brazil, and we pay here about $20 for unlimited data in a prepaid phone

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939224)

We're just used to that old and lame excuse that 'Everything is more expensive in Switzerland *shrug*'... But frankly, that 1 GB limit is plain stupid. Especially when you consider that these plans aren't even primarily targeted at mobile devices like phones but mobile devices like laptops and netbooks and there, one GB is just a lame joke.

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938922)

That would be the majority of users, because they're in wifi range 99% of the time, and actually only need 3G for the random snippits of data at random times.

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (1)

Sechr Nibw (1278786) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938954)

There have been a few times that I have considered switching my iPhone to the 200 MB/month plan, honestly. Since getting my iPhone in Sept 09, I haven't used more than 140 MB in a single month. Mostly because where I live and work and play are all saturated with WiFi, and there isn't 3G where I live, just where I work. But, as I got in on the unlimited data plan before they removed that, I've been hesitant to abandon that gravy boat, in case 3G becomes more readily available, or I find an app I can't live without. (Also, it becomes less important to switch as I get closer and closer to switching to Verizon.)

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (2)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938974)

1GB is considered a lot by most phone companies on a cellular plan. Most of UK networks are downgrading their "unlimited" to mean "500MB/month" right now - see the recent furore about t-mobile.

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (1)

MobyTurbo (537363) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939004)

In Great Britain, T-Mobile has only a 500MB data plan for new customers (originally *all* customers, but the backlash was too great). They have an ad campaign now saying "don't view video or download files, save that for your computer at home".

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (2)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939060)

I'm not saying the phantom data isn't bad, I think every kind of phantom is bad, but who on earth gets a smart-phone and signs up for the 1GB a month plan? Do they even have those?

Ok, based on responses to this I guess I'll make a different point: Apparently I'm the only one who uses tethering while traveling.

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939316)

When you're with AT&T you have the choice between 300MB and 1GB. A lot of providers won't allow you to eat up more than 2GB before hitting some type of FUP.

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939318)

Yes you are, as there are far more economically viable data contracts utilising 3G data dongles. If you have your laptop with you anyway, why are you using a phone for data? Don't give me "It's one less thing to carry"; If you are using a device which requires tethering for data, it almost certainly has a USB port.

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (1)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939362)

Yes you are, as there are far more economically viable data contracts utilising 3G data dongles. If you have your laptop with you anyway, why are you using a phone for data? Don't give me "It's one less thing to carry"; If you are using a device which requires tethering for data, it almost certainly has a USB port.

Because I have a phone that does tethering with unlimited data already, and over the last month I drove all around Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona, and out in those big western states there is a lot of land where the only available internet is 3G(which, surprisingly, is almost everywhere out there).

The performance is fine for what I'm doing, I already have the contract, I already have the phone, its easy, and what more reason do you need?

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (1)

Rary (566291) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939410)

I'm not saying the phantom data isn't bad, I think every kind of phantom is bad, but who on earth gets a smart-phone and signs up for the 1GB a month plan? Do they even have those?

Ok, based on responses to this I guess I'll make a different point: Apparently I'm the only one who uses tethering while traveling.

Tethering would make quite a difference, I imagine. As someone who hasn't traveled since I got my smartphone, I have no experience with it.

Mainly, I use my phone with wi-fi whenever possible, and consequently my 100MB data add-on is more than enough for me.

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34939174)

In my country unlimited plans aren't an option, at least I didn't find any when doing my research, but there are data packages one can sign up for to not have to pay the overly expensive price per MB they're offering before exceeding the limit. In the end I didn't see the point of paying $35 a month and having to switch service provider for a 500 MB one, and went with 50 MB a month for $7 instead, on the low-end of the scale. It served me well with lots of daily mail usage, occasional web browsing while commuting, and occasionally for ssh on my netbook via tethered WLAN on the train.

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (4, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939260)

I'm not saying the phantom data isn't bad, I think every kind of phantom is bad

The Ghost who Walks would be extremely unhappy to hear you say this.

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (1)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939376)

I'm not saying the phantom data isn't bad, I think every kind of phantom is bad

The Ghost who Walks would be extremely unhappy to hear you say this.

I can't believe this is the first post to get my main point.

And the Ghost who walks should go back to where he came from and stop taking our jobs and our women! Damn clear-skins.

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34939286)

I'm not saying the phantom data isn't bad, I think every kind of phantom is bad, but who on earth gets a smart-phone and signs up for the 1GB a month plan? Do they even have those?

Blackberries often have such a plan. With a blackberry enterprise server, data to/from the blackberry is not only encrypted, it's optimized and compressed.

One of the things RIM realized a long time ago is that on a small screen, a lot of website or email info isn't going to be displayed/rendered properly. So why transmit all the html fluff when it isn't going to be used?

So when an email comes in to a blackberry enterprise server, most of the html fluff is stripped out, then it is compressed with a conventional compression algorithm, then it is encrypted with AES, then it is pushed to the handheld.

The combination of all this is blackberries are very data efficient. If you ever have to roam internationally at usurious rates, or you live in a country with ridiculous data prices, you will appreciate what blackberry has to offer.

By comparison, no other platform has push email, so other smartphones have to poll continuously for email, which drives up the data bill even if you don't send/receive a single email. Exchange activesync comes closer to push email, but it isn't.

The end result is that most of my company's blackberries rarely go over 25 megabytes for email. Other activity (music streaming, web browsing, youtube, various apps) is where the big data usage is.

Re:Who gets the 1GB plan? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939388)

2GB is now the standard (and I think LARGEST) plan you can get on AT&T.

1GB seems odd - think AT&T's were 250M and 2GB last I checked.

Good job, Microsoft (-1, Troll)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938800)

I had already compiled a fairly extensive list of reasons I would not want a Windows phone, such as the fact that I don't want a phone that blue screens and/or needs to be rebooted twice a day. Now you can add massive spying by an "unnamed third party" (who we swear is not the FBI) into the mix. No thanks.

Re:Good job, Microsoft (4, Insightful)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938852)

If it was the FBI or CIA or NSA I would still mind, but it wouldn't be THAT huge a deal, mainly because:

A. They will track me anyway if they have any reason to.

B. They aint got shit on me.

C. The chances of them actually bugging me are about .001%

I'm more worried about it being someone who is going to try to sell me shit. Because the likelihood of them actually bugging me is almost 100%.

Re:Good job, Microsoft (3, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939078)

Right - the risk of getting bugged by FBI is usually lower than the risk of getting your identity stolen and abused.

At least that applies to most of us.

Re:Good job, Microsoft (1)

thijsh (910751) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939086)

A and B may be true, but C is quite the opposite. You can be 99,999% sure your mobile Internet traffic also gets routed goes trough one of the NarusInsight boxes [narus.com] . These things are produced for mass-surveillance with a reported capacity of 10Gbit of traffic per unit... Since mobile networks can potentially be a goldmine for 'anti-terrorist' monitoring you can be sure they hooked a fiber from each large network node to a room filled with these babies. The problem is that the chance of C is much higher than most people think, the chances of B and A happening are fairly large once you communicate anything remotely interesting to one of the agencies.

Re:Good job, Microsoft (2)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939190)

I may just be too uncool, but I honestly don't do or say anything that would be worth the time of law enforcement.

I'm not saying its ok to just track everything everyone says, that would be a horrible practice, I'm just saying I'm close to the bottom of the list.

Re:Good job, Microsoft (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939232)

I think he meant "bugging" in the sense of "annoying," not "wiretapping." His point, I think was that he doesn't really care if the FBI is wiretapping him because they almost certainly will never bother him or waste his time, but advertisers almost certainly will.

Re:Good job, Microsoft (1)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939300)

I think he meant "bugging" in the sense of "annoying," not "wiretapping." His point, I think was that he doesn't really care if the FBI is wiretapping him because they almost certainly will never bother him or waste his time, but advertisers almost certainly will.

Ahh, I didn't think that wording out. Thank you.

I should add though that I do indeed care, I'm just not panicking about it. If the FBI follows me for a month it will be a unnecessary invasion of my privacy and I will be upset, but I won't be outright panicking is because at the end of that month the FBI will be bored out of their minds and move on to someone worth following.

Re:Good job, Microsoft (1)

thijsh (910751) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939610)

Yeah ok, I think we're on the same page then... :)

Re:Good job, Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34939384)

he meant "bug" as in "bother, annoy, pester" not "bug" as in "to remotely observe".

the FBI et al will only bother you if they think your worth the trouble (remember actually doing something to you requires them to reveal that they were listening). Advertisers on the other hand have every incentive to try and get your attention.

Re:Good job, Microsoft (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939600)

I like how you said "they ain't got shit on me" rather than "I haven't done anything". ;-)

Re:Good job, Microsoft (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34938856)

(who we swear is not the FBI)

I suspect that acronym is too long by one letter.

Re:Good job, Microsoft (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34939130)

Look, I own a Windows phone (not 7 it's 6.1 then flashed it to 6.5) . I hate Windows for many reasons. I think it's slow (granted, the hardware is not top of the line), it's cumbersome, and there are next to no apps for it.

But the claim that a windows phone has to be rebooted every other day or that one gets BSODs on a windows phone -- that's pure crap. The phone is not rock solid, but it easily runs for months on end with no problem. The few times i've actually had to reboot my windows phone was either because i was flashing an updated ROM or because I was trying to see if the signal issues were caused by the OS (they weren't).

So given that winmo 6.5 is decently stable, why would you FUD about phone 7?

For me the biggest issues with windows mobile 6.5 are: slow startup, slow GUI, poor app market. Each of these is a huge minus for winmo compared to the competition. But I would not complain about the phone's stability.

Re:Good job, Microsoft (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939498)

I agree here. Early versions of WinCE were awful. Same with trying to actually shove Windows into a phone.

But later revisions of Windows Mobile, along with Windows Phone 7, have no real connection to Windows other than riding the marketing coattails of Windows.

I've been using Windows Mobile since WM5 (original AT&T Tilt) and it is actually a great operating system for power users. It was one of the better choices until Android matured (Android 2.x).

My next phone will be Android based, since Microsoft saw fit to utterly cripple WP7. It has a shiny UI but it is missing nearly all of the features, power, and flexibility that made me like WM5/6.

Re:Good job, Microsoft (1)

CuriousGeorge113 (47122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939132)

....such as the fact that I don't want a phone that blue screens and/or needs to be rebooted twice a day.....

Sounds like my co-workers Moto Droid 2.

Re:Good job, Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34939230)

Agree, my Droid needs to be rebooted once at a week at least or it starts to slow to a complete crawl.

"a small (low single-digit) percentage" (4, Funny)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938844)

That can't be true. There are more than two reports.

Re:"a small (low single-digit) percentage" (2)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938904)

1.5 million as of end of December [mashable.com] so somewhere between 0 and 60,000 affected users (assuming "Low single digit" maxes out at 4%).

Re:"a small (low single-digit) percentage" (3, Insightful)

Gruturo (141223) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939050)

Actually that number comes with a big caveat since it started circulating a few weeks earlier, that even that mashable article, or the MS link it references, are carefully avoiding to shed light on. Those reported are 1.5 million handset sold "to carriers", or "by manufacturers" (which mostly sell to carriers, gosh).

For all we know, 90% of those 1.5 million might be still be unsold, sitting on shelves and warehouses and NOT in the hands of a customer. And that kind of carefully treading around the ambiguity is a giant, glowing, blinking warning sign..

Re:"a small (low single-digit) percentage" (4, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939534)

This is how typically MS depicts success when it isn't. 1.5 million Windows phones have been sold to retailers and carriers, not to consumers. Considering that Dell, Garmin-Asus, HTC, HP , LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Qualcomm all made phones and they were launched on the networks: AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, SFR, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telstra, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless, Vodafone, Telus, Bell Canada and SingTel, 1.5 million is abysmal. That's on average 100,000 per carrier and 160,000 per manufacturer. Remember that number also represents units that were given to MS employees. If I understand the process, MS employees could buy a phone and the company would reimburse them.

In this history of MS, they launched the Zune the same way. They showed great sales figures for the 2006 holiday season but what they didn't make clear was those were units shipped to retailers not sold to consumers. They also didn't disclose that for several months after that they shipped virtually no Zunes because the retailers were fully stocked. In the end, retailers had to get rid of the Zunes mostly at huge discounts.

Compensation? Class action? (2)

bazmail (764941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938850)

So is there going to be compensation for users scorched by this bug/feature? Class action suit anyone?

Corporate blame game (1, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938864)

It doesn't matter. Someone at Microsoft ok'd that third party software without due diligence. It's their baby. Denying it just makes them look unprofessional. But we already knew that.

Re:Corporate blame game (1)

CuriousGeorge113 (47122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939202)

They didn't "Deny" it, they said "We found the problem" and "The problem is x" and "We are working with the vendor who published Product X" so that "This problem can be fixed" and "We can develop standards to prevent other applications from reproducing the same scenario."

Saying that it's their problem just because they approved it is a gross over-simplification of the situation. When the Goodyear tires that came with Ford vehicles started to fail and explode, Ford worked with Goodyear to get the problem fixed and the faulty tires replaced, but it was ultimately Goodyear's responsibility to replace their defective product.

Re:Corporate blame game (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34939574)

They didn't "Deny" it, they said "We found the problem" and "The problem is x" and "We are working with the vendor who published Product X" so that "This problem can be fixed"

Have they committed to a deadline when this will be fixed? Have they given information that allows affected users to mitigate this behaviour? Have they offered to compensate users that receive astronomical bills for data usage?

"We can develop standards to prevent other applications from reproducing the same scenario."

Is this an admission that there were no standards beforehand? Was WinMo7 marketed to developers as an "everything goes" platform, i.e. were they selling out their customers before there were any?

Saying that it's their problem just because they approved it is a gross over-simplification of the situation.

Huh? Are you saying that "user purchases Microsoft product, gets burned (again)" is not Microsoft's problem?

When the Goodyear tires that came with Ford vehicles started to fail and explode, Ford worked with Goodyear to get the problem fixed and the faulty tires replaced, but it was ultimately Goodyear's responsibility to replace their defective product.

Ford also publicly named GoodYear as the source of the defects. Microsoft is shielding the source of the defect, so all blame rightfully goes to them.

Explains? (4, Insightful)

bgarcia (33222) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938888)

So, Microsoft saying "it wasn't us, it was them" counts as an explanation?

Re:Explains? (5, Insightful)

Aerynvala (1109505) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938924)

The politicians use it, why wouldn't their corporate masters?

3rd Party? (5, Interesting)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938890)

Can it still be considered 3rd party if the company that generated the "phantom data" was contracted by either the carrier or Microsoft to develop the app to intentionally run up the quota, hopefully going unnoticed and generating overage charges? My ex-bank, 5th3rd [prnewswire.com] has a class-action lawsuit against them for doing something similar.

Re:3rd Party? (5, Insightful)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939016)

Well, yes. My Windows 7 work phone, for example, runs on the UK Orange network. It came in an Orange-branded box, it has Orange-branding within the phone software, and Orange apps bundled with it that can't be removed. Annoying, yes, but standard practice in the phone world. It also has HTC-specific apps built into it such as the HTC hub.
If it turns out that a network is bundling crapware with the handset that uses too much data in some conditions, or a vendor such as HTC has a bug in their app, then I wouldn't blame MS for it.
It's a big "if", but it's a definite possibility and until we know the reason I suggest we stop getting so hysterical about it.

Re:3rd Party? (1)

jeffgeno (737363) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939088)

What apps can't be removed? The ability to remove any carrier or manufacturer apps is one of the platform requirements. I was able to junk all of the AT&T and Samsung stuff I don't use on mine just like I would anything else.

Re:3rd Party? (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939372)

actually, I've just double checked, and you're correct! Sorry. I still have an Orange-branded splash screen on boot, but no big problem. But I stand corrected, the Orange apps are uninstallable.

Re:3rd Party? (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939120)

If the telecom operator provides a branded phone with apps that can't be removed and one of those apps is eating your data traffic then you should get that data traffic for free.

Re:3rd Party? (1)

TheEyes (1686556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939538)

If the telecom operator provides a branded phone with apps that can't be removed and one of those apps is eating your data traffic then you should get that data traffic for free.

Sure you "should". But will you, without some kind of lawsuit? Probably not.

The new US customer service model: the customer is always wrong, and largely irrelevant.

Re:3rd Party? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34939510)

...until we know the reason I suggest we stop getting so hysterical about it.

That's not how things work on Slashdot. People come here specifically for an excuse to get hysterical about things, especially anything to do with Microsoft. You can take any moderately "bad" event in existence, and someone around here will find a way to spin it so that it's Microsoft's fault.

It gets better (5, Interesting)

qmaqdk (522323) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938902)

Apparently* it's an external problem and there will be "no need for a system software update." [oneindia.in] .

Makes you wonder about who can do what with your Windows Phone 7...

*As I noted in my submission. Which was earlier. WTF editors!?

WP7 (and others) needs a utility (2)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938910)

They need a utility built-in to the phone that logs which processes/programs are sending how much data over which connection. None of this "unnamed third-party program" bullshit.

They're being decent at least (0)

Altesse (698587) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938926)

Not to defend Microsoft here, but if really the OS is not to blame, and it's a third party app that causes this phantom data, at least they have the decency of keeping the name of the responsible undisclosed, to avoid them a bad publicity.

Re:They're being decent at least (1)

Aerynvala (1109505) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938982)

I don't understand how that is being decent? An application is causing excess data to be used without the customer's permission and it's good of Microsoft not to name names?

Re:They're being decent at least (1)

zombiechan (1979698) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939576)

Microsoft is just not a tattletale

WGA program (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34938934)

Are we sure it's not just the phone calling home (Microsoft) to confirm it's a "Genuine Copy"?

What data? (1)

mvar (1386987) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938946)

So it was a 3rd party application which they do not name. Perhaps they could at least explain what kind of data were being sent... oh wait..

No one here has a Windows phone? (1)

hunangarden (848442) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938968)

So no one here has a Windows phone 7?

Probably pretty easy to monitor what's flowing through your home router if you're on wi-fi.

Is this a problem with all phone's or just if people installed some nefarious app?

Re:No one here has a Windows phone? (2)

Wamoc (1263324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939092)

So no one here has a Windows phone 7?

Probably pretty easy to monitor what's flowing through your home router if you're on wi-fi.

The phantom data has been over 3G even if the phone is connected to wi-fi. This idea sadly wont work.

Is this a problem with all phone's or just if people installed some nefarious app?

The article says it is a third party app.

Re:No one here has a Windows phone? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939464)

Depends on the router. Most cheap routers won't let you see what's going on.

Re:No one here has a Windows phone? (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939572)

It's a 3G problem. From the descriptions it appeared to be certain phones on certain carriers. My best guess is that some service was mis-configured to continuously send data instead of bursting it or not to send it all. The size of the data seems to suggest that logging was inadvertently turned on and sending.

Yahoo Mail (1)

sunfly (1248694) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938980)

Yahoo mail app being reported other places. Figures

Yahoo! (2)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939006)

According to ars, Yahoo mail [arstechnica.com] might be the one to blame.

"All very peculiar. The main culprit fingered by the Windows Phone 7 community over this issue (though not named in the statement) is Yahoo! Mail."

They're not just pointing fingers (3, Interesting)

confused one (671304) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939038)

I'm glad y'all RTFA and saw where it said

"We are in contact with the third party to assist them in making the necessary fixes," a spokesperson said. The firm also said that it was looking into "potential workarounds" until the issue was solved.

fwiw, there's evidence that one potential culprit was a yahoo mail client

That's an "explanation"? (4, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939082)

An "unnamed third party service" is an explanation? As much as "a dog ate my homework".

Re:That's an "explanation"? (3, Insightful)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939098)

It's better than "You're holding it wrong."

Gee, how helpful... (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939128)

So Microsoft won't tell their users who have problems WHICH software is offending here? Seriously? I'm sure their affected WP7 users just love being denied that information while paying AT&T the bills for their nightly "activities" due to a "third party service". At least they'd be able to turn it off while waiting for a fix if they knew which software caused the problems.

Single Digit Percentage... (1)

landswipe (1708518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939140)

Yep, 9.999999999% with +/- 500% tolerance.

Developers/Partners before Users (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939228)

Who does Microsoft care more about? Users or Developers and Partners? Their actions speak louder than words. They are reluctant to tell people the truth so that they can protect themselves or conserve their resources in favor of protecting developers and partners. In the world of Microsoft (and indeed Apple and most other commercial software vendors) the users are to be taken for granted and abuse of users, their information, their computers and their resources are all the norm.

I realize this is more preaching to the choir for most people here and/or this is "stating the obvious" but I think it's sometimes useful to remind people and users of where the priorities and motivations of the vendors they use and rely on are. By knowing their priorities and motivations, you can keep yourself appropriately aware and even guarded. For example, we have a LOT og Google fans here. In the eyes of some, Google does no evil and can do no wrong. They are an advertiser and a marketer and maintain all of the priorities and motivations of advertisers and marketers. It is important to keep Google in perspective. Google is just one example. Microsoft's main strategy is to keep their markets saturated with Microsoft products and services. This is accomplished through strategic partnerships and arrangements with OEMs and resellers among others. This means they place their priorities in favor of those channels; partners, OEMs, developers and all. If Microsoft's primary channel was retail and online sales, their priority would then be focused on the people who buy their products and services directly. But this is, for the most part, not the case.

For this reason ("Who does Microsoft care about?") I generally avoid Microsoft. It is not because they are buggy or insecure or "evil." It is the fact that as a user or customer, they are not interested in my needs or interests. That's a simple fact.

explains what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34939418)

I'm still looking for an explanation because so far they've said, it's not us it's the software we've approved.

Unnamed? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939518)

If they refuse to tell anyone what this "Unnamed 3rd party service" is... then I think it's well within our rights to assume the worst. The FBI/CIA really aren't all that creative.

My suggestion? British Petroleum. They are tracking out movements to determine the best place to have the next oil slick. If no ones around, no one will notice.

any other suggestions? Once we decide on a winner we can go update Wikipedia with our "Facts" and start spreading it around the internet via forums and blog posts. Remember, if it's too ridiculous, no one will believe it... so try and keep your suggestions within reason.

Why not tell what app is costing users money ? (1)

terminal.dk (102718) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939530)

Why don't Microsoft tell users what 3rd party app is costing them money ?

Users should have a possibility of deleting or disabling the offending app. As it is now, Microsoft should get the bill for this data forwarded. They know about it and do not act. here in Denmark that is reason for court action, it is actively taking responsibility if you do not act in a timely manner.

Or maybe Microsoft is getting their percentage of the money for data transfer ? So it is money straight in their pocket.

Drop MS, go for the walled garden.

Choosing iPhone/WinPho7/Android just got easier (1)

phonewebcam (446772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939604)

So, you can have a phone you have to figure out how to hold before you make a call, a phone you have to make all your calls at the start of the month quickly before it drains all your allowance or the other one which does neither. Hmm...

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