Yahoo apologizes, but then confirms that Microsoft is really at fault

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.

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27 Responses to Yahoo apologizes, but then confirms that Microsoft is really at fault

  1. spindriftpages says:

    I think until you know whether the IMAP implementaion MS chose is within the IMAP spec or not it’s impossible to say who is at fault. You could equally read that as
    MS chose a particular IMAP implementation that isn’t used by other people, and the Yahoo implementation of IMAP is broken

    • Paul Thurrott says:

      Which, is of course, exactly what I wrote:

      “It appears that Yahoo! Mail doesn’t correctly responded to correctly-formed IMAP requests. (This remains to be proven. It’s possible Windows Phone sends malformed requests, too.)”

      • spindriftpages says:

        I don’t see that phrase anywhere in this article, I am only on my first cup of coffee though so I may have missed it

      • luxsphinx says:

        @spindriftpages

        You do not see it in this article because he did not say that here. That was from one of the previous posts about the Yahoo! Mail screw up.

        And while it is still up in the air, I feel as though Yahoo! could just as likely be the problem even if Microsoft knew about the problem months before the release of WP7. Could the scenario not been something like this:

        Microsoft finds the problem and notifies Yahoo! that their IMAP is incorrect, Yahoo! claims that they will fix it but fails to deliver on time, Microsoft lowers the settings on that specific client trying buy time for Yahoo! (possibly planning to release an earlier update), things hit the fan before the update could be released.

        In that instance, Yahoo! is all to blame for issue and Microsoft is at fault for trying to make things work until the fix comes in. Of course, Microsoft could just have removed Yahoo! Mail, but that wouldn’t look too good for Yahoo!, limit some of the options WP7 had to offer, and would possibly push away Yahoo! Mail users from buying a phone – particularly unnecessary if a fix was expected from Yahoo! in a short time frame.

        Of course, that is all hypothetical, but if ideas are going to tossed around that might as well be one of them.

        Personally, this issue doesn’t affect me at all and I know of only one person that even uses Yahoo! Mail. Still it is an unfortunate and unnecessary hit on the already fragile image of Windows Phone 7. This update better be a lot more than is expected if things are going to start rolling in a positive direction on the Verzion and Sprint adoption. Who knows, with how little Microsoft is telling us in regards to the updates, maybe they are not telling us about a bunch of new features ;)

  2. alexd7777 says:

    WP7 team needs to borrow some people from Windows Update team. They managed somehow to release updates on regular base (and not only security fixes, but usual updates too)

  3. Pingback: Fuite de données WP7 : Yahoo! s’excuse mais pointe le doigt vers Microsoft

  4. misterbeak says:

    I tend to agree with Yahoo on this. It isn’t happening (AFAIK) on any other smart phones.

  5. teemark1 says:

    Tens of millions of people check their Yahoo! Mail
    Seriously? I would have thought it would be tensof people checking Yahoo mail.

  6. blkballoon925 says:

    But on the other hand, other non-Windows Phones don’t connect to winmo.imap.mail.yahoo.com. Even if Microsoft IMAP IDLE, that doesn’t mean Yahoo! needs to send 15+ lines of header information and all of the other unnecessary data Rafael discovered.

  7. archieseb says:

    It is just sad that it is another brick. It would have been funnier if it would have been Gmail… At least, WP7 went on the news with this issue, hope that next time, it will be on a more positive side.

    If they wait more another let’s say 2 weeks, they should mark this update as ServicePack.

  8. “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.”

    Agreed! And a real blog would be nice like Windows 7 and IE 9 have. Since really this is software that won’t be “final” until maybe October of this year it would be nice to have some insight into the real engineering behind the scenes.

  9. thomwilk says:

    People are missing the big story here. Yahoo! is in the news again. Just saying.

  10. rjohn05 says:

    I’m glad you are riding MS on the lack of updates. I’ve seen at least two iOS updates since Windows Phone 7 was released and both add new features.

  11. Paul, I think your negativity is a little excessive now. As I wrote here: http://www.peterskitchen.net/?p=4997 – while I think Microsoft is being slow with updates, there’s nothing that’s really a massive deal-breaker when it comes to Windows Phone.

    Comparisons with Apple’s update strategy in 2007 are also faulty – Apple had one phone, on one carrier, in one country with no app-store, no gaming service. Windows Phone 7 was launched in several countries, on several carriers, on several devices with an app-store from day one. It was a fairly ambitious launch, but the services it comes with somewhat mitigate the feature gap.

    Yes, Microsoft can do better – particularly with localisation in countries outside the US, but I think you need to give them a bit of a break. Some of these blogs are becoming a bit self-serving as you can’t get internal Microsoft reps to reveal a schedule about when things will be released. In so doing, perspective and common sense is being lost in the overall analysis.

    • Paul Thurrott says:

      So I disagree with this strongly.

      Microsoft chose its strategy in the wake of what Apple did. You can’t claim that the comparison with Apple is “faulty” because Microsoft made one choice and Apple made the other. The companies pick their strategies. Consumers choose between the phones. They are comparable, from a reviewer standpoint, and Microsoft comes out with the lesser strategy, sorry. This is not “negative,” it’s the truth.

      I will not cut some mega corporation a break. I will call it like I see it, good or bad.

      How’s that for “common sense and perspective”? I will not apologize for a company’s strategy to fail.

  12. Pingback: Within Windows | Yahoo: Your buggy IMAP server affects iPhone too; thanks for playing though.

  13. rohitharsh says:

    Not sure how good this is but it seems to happen to other phones too:

    http://bit.ly/e1jFQh

  14. timnfl says:

    Paul,

    I understand most of your comments about the situation, I want to point out that Rapheal has confirmed that this is an issue on the iPhone also:

    http://www.withinwindows.com/2011/02/02/yahoo-your-buggy-imap-server-affects-iphone-too-thanks-for-playing-though

  15. Pingback: Yahoo! Blames Microsoft For Phantom Data Use

  16. Pingback: Windows Phone 7 Data Hog – Yahoo! blames Microsoft

  17. Pingback: Windows Phone 7 Data Hog – Yahoo! blames Microsoft - Phone-stuff

  18. sk says:

    Even if they don’t update the phone, they have direct control over the Zune desktop software. How many times has that been updated over the last few months?

    The phone is one area where it promised not to behave like the lumbering giant that Microsoft is, but so far, nothing. WP7 is probably headed in the direction of Kin.

  19. Pingback: Yahoo apologizes, but then confirms that Microsoft is really at fault | My Windows Phone

  20. Pingback: Windows 7 Phone Lag Tied to Yahoo Email Servers

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