Microsoft apologizes for service outages

On three occasions over the past few weeks, enterprises may have had trouble accessing hosted services

Microsoft apologized to customers of its hosted software services for businesses after at least three outages over the past few weeks.

"We aspire to deliver quality services, and in the last couple of weeks, we have fallen short of this aspiration," wrote Morgan Cole, who said he is responsible at Microsoft for making sure that Business Productivity Online Suite customers have a good experience. "I wanted to write here to apologize to you, our customers, for any inconvenience these issues may have caused." His blog post appeared at 10:30 p.m. U.S. Pacific Time on Wednesday.

He referred to three recent issues that customers may have had accessing the BPOS services, which include hosted e-mail, SharePoint and web conferencing. On 23 August, upgrades to network infrastructure caused "unforeseen problems that affected access to some services," he wrote. For about two hours, customers served from Microsoft's North America facilities may have had trouble accessing the services.

While engineers addressed that issue, their efforts didn't resolve another underlying issue that created additional problems on 3 September and 7 September, he said. On those days, customers may have had trouble signing in and using the administrative portals. There was more "widespread customer impact" on Tuesday, however, although for a relatively short period, he said.

"We appreciate the serious responsibility we have as a service provider to you, and we know that any issue with the service is a disruption to your business -- and that's not acceptable," he wrote.

On the blog post, a commenter identifying himself as Guy Gregory, a technical specialist at Peak Support Services, said that the two-hour outage caused August uptime for the service to dip to 99.7 per cent, below the 99.9 per cent uptime guarantee. Microsoft offers money back to customers if it drops below the 99.9 percent threshold.

Microsoft did provide credit to affected customers, Jim Glynn, a project manager for cloud services at the company, said in a comment after the blog post. Customers who think that Microsoft didn't meet its service agreement and who didn't get a credit should contact support, he said.

On 2 September, Microsoft also had problems that prevented some Hotmail users from logging into their mailboxes. In his blog post, Cole said that the issues affecting BPOS did not affect any other Microsoft service.

Microsoft has sought to position itself as better prepared to serve enterprise customers than some of its competitors, like Google. But just like customers of Google's enterprise offerings, BPOS customers are complaining about a lack of information during outages.

Microsoft is reviewing all of its communications to look for ways to improve, Cole wrote in the comments after his blog post. "One area of focus that we have is to build better tools to provide timely, accurate and targeted communications about service health," he wrote. Currently, Microsoft has an RSS feed that offers updates when services are impacted, but some customers have complained that the updates are too vague and sometimes tardy. Cole said the company has already started adding features that allow it to add more details to those feeds.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftinternetInternet-based applications and services

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?