There’s a lot of finger pointing going on this week. First, Rafael proved that Yahoo! Mail was the data leak culprit on Windows. Then, Microsoft semi-spontaneously confirmed to me that Yahoo! Mail was, in fact, the problem. And then, I pointed out (ahem) that Microsoft must have known about this issue months before Windows Phone launched, since it seemingly arbitrarily limited only the Yahoo! Mail account type on Windows Phone so that it couldn’t connect to Yahoo!’s servers as frequently as with other account types. (You know, rather than actually fix the problem either way.)
Is that enough recrimination for you? No?
Now, Yahoo! has issued two statements about the situation. In the first, it apologizes for the data leak issue. But Yahoo! is also firmly pointing the finger of blame right back at Microsoft in a second statement, noting as I had suggested that the software giant was not sending correctly formatted IMAP requests. The proof? This problem doesn’t exist on any non-Windows Phone devices.
Here’s the first (apology) statement:
Tens of millions of people check their Yahoo! Mail from their mobile device each day and we know they want their mobile mail experience to be fast, rich, and real-time. While our default settings on all mobile platforms realize this approach, we have determined that an inefficiency exists in the synchronization of email between Windows Phone Mail clients and Yahoo! Mail which can result in larger than expected data usage for some users. Microsoft and Yahoo! have worked together to identify a fix, which will be rolled out in the coming weeks. In the meantime, Windows Phone 7 customers can mitigate this issue by changing their settings to reduce the frequency of Yahoo! Mail updates. This does not impact any other phones, and we apologize for any inconvenience this is causing to users.
And the second, more damning public statement:
Yahoo! Mail is widely available on tens of millions of mobile phones, including those running on Apple iOS, Android, Nokia Symbian, and RIM. The issue on the Windows Phones is specific to how Microsoft chose to implement IMAP for Yahoo! Mail and does not impact Yahoo! Mail on these other mobile devices. Yahoo! has offered to provide Microsoft a near-term solution for the implementation they chose, and is encouraging Microsoft to change to a standard way of integrating with Yahoo! Mail, which would result in a permanent fix.
Since I seem to have to do this these days, let’s state the obvious here: If Windows Phone were updated on a rolling basis, as is Windows and other first-tier Microsoft products, this is exactly the type of thing Microsoft could have quietly fixed months ago. No controversy. No bad press. Just good feelings all around.