September 1, 2014

Microsoft Apologizes For Prolonged Outlook.com Outage

outlook.com outage

Amazon was not the only service to see downtime in recent days. Microsoft has apologized for a recent outage on Outlook.com that took nearly three days to fully repair.

Microsoft says the outage lasted between Aug. 14 and Aug. 17 last week. On its service status page, the company blamed a system that interacts with a protocol used by most mobile devices.

This incident was a result of a failure in a caching service that interfaces with devices using Exchange ActiveSync, including most smart phones. The failure caused these devices to receive an error and continuously try to connect to our service. This resulted in a flood of traffic that our services did not handle properly, with the effect that some customers were unable to access their Outlook.com email and unable to share their SkyDrive files via email.

After Microsoft was able to restore Web access to Outlook email and sharing to SkyDrive, it began experiencing a backlog of requests from mobile accounts. While the company slowly restored mobile access, some users were unfortunately left without any services for a few days. The Microsoft services team reported all problems resolved with its services by early on Aug. 18.

The company says it has learned from the experience and has made changes in its system to compensate.

Was your business affected by the Outlook.com outage last week? What do you do when a service you rely upon for communications or other important business functions is out of commission?

Apology Concept Photo via Shutterstock

12 Comments ▼
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Joshua Sophy - Staff Writer


Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is a staff writer for Small Business Trends, covering technology and business news. He is a journalist and editor with 15 years experience in media. A former newspaper reporter and editor, Joshua also serves as President of the Board of Directors of a curling club and is editor of a regional newsletter focused on the sport of curling in the Eastern U.S.

12 Reactions

  1. I have an Outlook.com account, but I hardly ever use it, so I didn’t know there was an outage ’til I read this post. However, a recent outage that affected me was when Hostgator went down a couple of weeks ago. My sites were affected and I couldn’t check most of my email accounts. There was nothing much I could do when it went down except wait and check Twitter updates from time to time — it was out of my hands.

  2. Three days? Now that’s a record. Same here. I don’t even use it except for the calendar which I use for reminders. I hardly noticed the downtime because I rarely connect it to the Internet. It is surprising enough that they had a 3-days downtime but what’s more surprising is that only a few noticed it.

  3. Joshua,

    I think the best way for us to deal with such outages – no matter how rare they are – is by having a Plan B – it’s a good practice to regularly backup your emails – just in case.

    You don’t want to miss your flight simply because you can’t access confirmation emails sent to your Outlook.com

  4. We run our own Outlook server. We do have an ISP though, and when things go down on their end, we have to call them and rely on them to resolve things. Speed is important seein how we operate 24/7. We therefore need their after-hours staff to be on standby and be able to respond quickly. In order to do so we have had to set up back-up contacts in case the main personnel cannot be reached.

  5. It’s my primary personal email and I was using it all that week. I use the outlook.com app rather than activesync. Its a free service. I wouldn’t care less if they have downtime or not and they still do better than most corporate exchange servers.

  6. My email has been down from 8-14-13 until now 8-24-13 and its currently 10:25 am. Problem not fixed as they stated in their email!

    • 10 days is a mighty long time for your email to be down. Is this Outlook that you’re talking about? Either way, pretty long for any email platform. I hope it’s now been fixed.

      Take care…

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