- Microsoft says it has reversed a “network change” that it thinks may be linked to tens of thousands of users worldwide being unable to access its services.
- Downdetector, which tracks website outages, showed more than 5,000 people in the UK reporting Outlook emails not working.
- Other services including Teams and Xbox Live were also reported as not working.
Microsoft said some users had reported the problem had been addressed. “We’re continuing to monitor the recovery across the service,” it said, noting that some customers were reporting improvements.
Microsoft’s diagnosis of a wide-ranging network issue at its end, following a change it made itself, at least appears to rule out a cyber-attack. And the signs are that recovery is underway. But for the thousands who lost access to services, it’s been a significant inconvenience. It is also a reminder of how so many of us rely on Big Tech to help us run our lives and our businesses with products we can’t control when they go wrong.
Systems and networks are always more vulnerable when maintenance or upgrades are under way, as there’s more potential for the tiniest thing to either go wrong or not to plan – and the ripple effects, as we’ve seen today, can be widespread. Microsoft Teams is used by more than 280 million people globally, primarily in businesses and schools, where it can be of critical importance for calls, meetings and general service organization.
The disruption comes a day after Microsoft reported its sales rose only 2% in the three months to December, to $52.7bn (£42.8bn) – with overall profits falling by 12% to $16.4bn. This slowdown in sales accounts for the corporation’s smallest quarterly increase in more than six years. Meanwhile, on 19 January, Microsoft announced it would reduce its workforce by roughly 5%, eliminating 10,000 jobs.
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