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June 25, 2014

Microsoft Outlook outage knocks out email for nine hours

But users may be entitled to a service credit from Microsoft's Office 365 SLA.

By Ben Sullivan

Microsoft suffered a nine hour outage on its Exchange Platform yesterday that left users who were affected stranded without email.

The outage struck customers in the United States, and many users turned to social media to vent their frustrations. Twitter user @PopcornTub said: "This might be the worst day ever for using Exchange Online. Down since 8:30am central with no ETA to return to service."

A reply from @realstevenlopez said: "It’s about time that hashtag be changed to #Office364."

It is not clear yet how many users were affected, but a Microsoft representative posted in the Office 365 support forums stating that the service had been restored around 6pm ET, after being out since around 9am ET.

Exchange Online, while being a standalone email service, is also a part of Office 365.

Users who were affected may be entitled to a 25% service credit for this month, according to Microsoft’s Service Level Agreement (SLA). The SLA reads: If the Monthly Uptime Percentage falls below 99.9% for any given month, you maybe eligible for the following Service Credit: <99.9%…25% service credit."

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But contributor josh05magnum was not happy about it on the Office 365 forum. The user said: "I agree with the many posts above, this kind of failure is unacceptable, and at best all we can do is switch services, or complain and get a credit for a portion of our bill.That credit doesn’t even REMOTELY cover lost productivity."

A Microsoft support official called David Zhang said: "Investigation determined that a portion of the networking infrastructure entered into a degraded state. Engineers made configuration changes on the affected capacity to remediate end-user impact."

The Microsoft Office 365 Twitter account posted: "Some Exchange customers are experiencing email delays, we are working to resolve, please see the SHD for service status." However, the tweet garnered some disgruntled backlash.

"A "delay" is like "hey I just now got that email you sent me an hour ago". I’d call 6 hours and counting more like a halt," said user @nancylrobinson.

In January, Microsoft reported that its Office 365 Home Premium subscriptions are growing steadily, with now more than 3.5 million subscribers.

A brief email outage might be of little concern to the home user, but for businesses, angry employees and bosses may turn to IT executives and CIOs to vent frustration at a failing cloud infrastructure.


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