Windows 7 Phone Lag Tied to Yahoo Email Servers

Dennis Faas's picture

When Microsoft first announced it had discovered a third party was responsible for mysterious data use on some Windows Phone 7 handsets, it didn't confirm rumors that Yahoo was to blame. Now, it's firmly pointing the finger at Yahoo -- which is in turn passing the blame back to Microsoft.

The problem emerged last month when some users noticed particularly high levels of data use even when their phones weren't being used. That led to complaints that some users risked unintentionally going over monthly data limits and facing blocks or excess use fees.

Microsoft later said that the problem affected "a small (low single-digit) percentage of Windows Phone customers", further explaining that "We have determined that a third-party solution commonly accessed from Windows Phones is configured in a manner that potentially causes larger than expected data downloads."

Experts Blame Yahoo for Problem

Largely by process of elimination, independent observers came to the conclusion that Yahoo was the third-party concerned.

Last weekend, a computer programming expert confirmed this was the case, noting that the Yahoo server used for sending messages to Windows Phone 7 devices was set up in an inefficient way. The problem was that the information sent by Yahoo (beyond the emails themselves) was largely redundant and meant that checking for messages used 25 times as much data as is really needed. (Source:

Microsoft reacted to the news by confirming that the problem was that "an inefficiency exists in the synchronization of e-mail between the Windows Phone Mail client and Yahoo! Mail."

At first Yahoo responded by mirroring the reference to an "inefficiency" in the synchronization, and noting that until a fix was available, affected customers should change their settings to reduce how frequently their phone checked for messages.

Yahoo Says Microsoft is at Fault, Too

However, Yahoo later issued a statement stressing that no similar problems affect its email service on other mobile operating systems. (Source:

The problem for Microsoft is that even if it turns out to be in the right, they may still catch heat from customers, simply because it's on the phone (and potentially the phone bill) where the problem comes to light.

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