Now Microsoft confirms Yahoo! as the data leak culprit

Microsoft this evening belatedly admitted that Yahoo! Mail was in fact the data leak culprit in Windows Phone, just hours after Rafael had already proven that to be the problem. Here’s the note from Microsoft, which also includes information about another, semi-unrelated issue for some reason.

We have determined that an inefficiency exists in the synchronization of email between the Windows Phone Mail client and Yahoo! Mail.

This inefficiency can result in larger than expected data usage for a very small percentage of users.

  • Microsoft and Yahoo! have worked together to identify a fix, which will be rolled out in the coming weeks.
  • In the meantime, customers can mitigate this issue by following these steps:
  1. On the Start screen of Windows Phone 7, click on the arrow at the top right
  2. Choose “Settings” from the app list
  3. Choose “email & accounts”
  4. Choose “Yahoo! Mail”
  5. Click on the setting under “Download new content”
  6. Select a less frequent setting. If you are using the default setting (every 2 hours), change this setting to ‘manually’
  7. Click on the setting under “Download email from”
  8. Select a shorter time range. If you are using the default setting (the last 2 weeks), change this setting to ‘the last 7 days’

Microsoft has also identified an issue with our Exchange ActiveSync [EAS] email synchronization protocol that may affect a very small percentage of users

  • This issue can be caused by email that exceeds the mail server email size setting or is sent to an invalid email address
  • This issue can potentially affect email services that utilize the EAS protocol – Outlook and Gmail for example
  • The immediate mitigation is for users to delete mail that appears “stuck” in the outbox
  • This is currently scheduled to be fixed in a near-term end user update from Microsoft

I realize I’m just stating the obvious, but there’s no reason, and no excuse, for this information to not have been provided earlier.

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110 Responses to Now Microsoft confirms Yahoo! as the data leak culprit

  1. Pingback: Phantom Data Source Found « Phone 7

  2. johnwbaxter says:

    “near-term end user update”

    Translation: sometime this decade.

    • Quilnux says:

      It’s coming in 7 more days. Not this decade.

      • Paul Thurrott says:

        7 days is in this decade. :)

        I don’t recall Microsoft claiming that the update would be out in 7 days, btw.

      • Quilnux says:

        Ahh, well in that case, a decade it is. heh.

        I think they haven’t announced it because they initially expected to release it during Mobile World Conference 2011. However, I think that due to this Yahoo issue, they are releasing it “out of band” a week early. It’s not exactly in the news but Microsoft has made an official announcement about it in Technet News. You’d have to search around Technet to find it but it’s there.

  3. Pingback: Microsoft confirms Yahoo! Mail is to blame for Windows Phone 7 mysterious data usage

  4. johndesouza says:

    Way to go Rafael and Paul. Why must MS try everything else before eventually doing the right thing?

    • Quilnux says:

      They have to be sure before they start blaming stuff. It sucks to blame the wheel and then find out it’s the engine. Legally, it’s a mess (been there done that at work).

  5. Pingback: Within Windows | Yahoo confirmed culprit in Windows Phone data usage overages

  6. archieseb says:

    I agree without. That’s another brick for them since Yahoo is their “search” partner.

    However, this is unforgetable that they did not test everyday each popular email account. Sigh.

  7. Give use the damn update already Microsoft!!!
    We are sick of the short comings and sick of the the silence.

  8. moonman says:

    “there’s no reason, and no excuse, for this information to not have been provided earlier”

    I think, there is. As long as you’re not absolutely sure it’s not a security issue or one that can be exploited, you shouldn’t tell it to anyone.

    • Paul Thurrott says:

      Sure. They knew about this a long time ago, actually.

      In fact, if WP had any appreciable user base, I’d have to think the phrase “class action lawsuit” would be popping up by now as well. What they’ve done here is irresponsible.

      • Quilnux says:

        As we all know, you can’t find out everything 100%. Bandwidth was probably not considered since in testing, they don’t see charges for bandwidth. Plus, if the system for the most part syncs the same between each email provider, maybe they saw no problems with one and didn’t think that there would be a problem with the other.

        It happens.

      • ikon819 says:

        OK, mistakes happen; we’re all human, blah blah blah. However, if bandwidth use was not considered during testing then it’s pure negligence, and it’s irresponsible. How could anyone consider developing a wireless device without taking bandwidth usage into account in today’s environment? It’s simply rediculous.

      • Quilnux says:

        In another article released today it talks about the technical causes for this issue. It states that Yahoo’s Mail server doesn’t properly process the FETCH command when it’s given to the IMAP servers. In addition, it would seem, according to the article that Yahoo has set up a special endpoint for WP7.
        http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2011/feb/01/windows-phone-7-yahoo-email-data-usage-excess

  9. Pingback: WMPoweruser.com » Yahoo for Windows Phone 7 proven to use excessive data usage(update)

  10. techpunbit says:

    Paul, question, is Microsoft trying to get me to lose confidence in this platform before it even gets to Sprint? I can’t recall a MS product so poorly rolled out (even Kin seemed to be handled better, up until it was cut).

    It seems like they’re trying to be unresponsive, kill all buzz that the platform had (for the most part people have already stopped talking about WP7), and show they’re not agile.

    Unless they have a barnstormer coming at MWC I think Ballmer needs to step up and take responsibility and hand over the reigns to either Sinofsky or Rudder (btw, what happened to him?).

    • Quilnux says:

      Did Windows ME cause you to lose confidence in Microsoft Windows?

      Every company has their problems with new platforms. Just look at Apple with the iPod battery exploding in V2 (heh, if I had a quarter for every iPod that exploded battery acid within the first 3 months of deployment).

      Android also had issues as well (still does according to a friend of mine that has it with AT&T).

      • Paul Thurrott says:

        That’s not a fair comparison, sorry. Windows ME was a final, expected release in the 9x series. The equivalent would be if Microsoft released Windows Mobile 7 right now. Windows Phone is to Windows Mobile as Windows 2000/XP was to 9x/Me.

        But yes, Windows ME did cause people to lose confidence in Microsoft. In fact, it was arguably the first sign that Microsoft really doesn’t get the consumer market.

      • Quilnux says:

        Not to argue but I would disagree. Only because if it was the end of a product line (which I agree on) wouldn’t it be expected to be the best of the line?

        I would say that if WM7 had released and had more problems then WM6.5 then it would be unacceptable.

        With WP7 being a new line, I would expect more bugs then it’s children later in the line.

        Things should get better with age, not worse.

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  21. pi says:

    Glad to hear that the leak has been found. There is no excuse for Microsoft keeping this quiet. It makes me worry about the future. I own a HD7 and it is a beautiful phone. I also own a Galaxy S and that is a nice functional phone. I only need one phone. Im going to wait for the WP7 update and see if there is potential in the platform. I hope there is. It is an amazing OS. Otherwise its going on ebay.

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  33. lzandman says:

    My sources claims the exact same problem occurs on the iPhone. But it is less visible there, because an iPhone will only process 50 messages at a time, whereas Windows Phone does 200. So on Windows Phone the problem is four times as big.

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  44. aaronsudduth says:

    Here is a “work-a-round” that I have been using since I got my WP device. (I didn’t know Yahoo was an issue, but when setting up my Live ID I decided to use hotmail as my mail client for a personal email address, that happens to be a Yahoo account)
    So, you can use hotmail to check your account, and sync your phone with your hotmail.

    Just a thought…

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  65. lzandman says:

    Yahoo! has said it’s now them, but Microsoft is to blame. Also problem only on WP7, not on iPhone/Android:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2011/feb/02/yahoo-microsoft-windows-phone-7-mail

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  97. lhutch85 says:

    Am I missing something? Wouldn’t you need to have your email linked to the phone for the crazy data usage to occur? When I had my focus (all of 2 days), I did not link my yahoo account to the phone (or any email/social network account for that matter) and still got hit with huge data usage. Unless it was trying to retrieve mail from an account I had not even set up, I don’t see why this would be the cause of the overages. I was pretty certain it was due to the feedback feature that came enabled on the phone when you turned it on. Once I deactivated that, the usage seemed to stop (I still returned the phone to avoid any future issues with my billing).

  98. Pingback: Windows Phone 7 data leak problem traced to Yahoo! Mail app - Tech News- Tweets

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