Bing goes down for a half hour

Microsoft blames the outage on a configuration change gone wrong

A day after trumpeting various enhancements to Bing, including the beta version of an improved mapping service, Microsoft had to apologise for a widespread outage that kept the search engine offline for about 30 minutes on Thursday evening.

During the outage, users either couldn't get the site to load at all, or they received truncated result pages for their search queries, Microsoft said.

"The cause of the outage was a configuration change during some internal testing that had unfortunate and unintended consequences," wrote Satya Nadella, senior vice president of Microsoft's Online Services Division, in an official blog.

"We are running a post mortem to find out how our software and processes need to be improved to prevent anything like this from happening again," he added.

Bing is the third most popular search engine in the U.S., where it was used for 9.9 percent of queries in October, according to comScore. Yahoo ranked second with 18 percent and Google stood all alone in first place with 65.4 percent.

Launched in late May and supported with a broad and aggressive marketing campaign, Bing is the latest iteration of Microsoft's search engine and expectations for it are very high.

Five years ago, Microsoft's search engine held a 16.3 percent share of U.S. search queries, according to comScore, but in the coming years it and Yahoo's search engine lost a lot of ground to Google, which saw its engine's popularity steadily rise until reaching its current dominant position.

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