Microsoft's Hotmail Back Online After Tuesday Outage

Dennis Faas's picture

Critics this morning are wondering what impact an outage of Microsoft's Hotmail email service will have on consumers, who are increasingly leaning towards Google's Gmail and Yahoo! Mail.

According to reports, yesterday at about 12:30pm Eastern Time, or 9:30am Pacific Time, Microsoft's Hotmail email service and the Windows Live Messenger instant messaging program both stopped working. Many users were barred from entering into their Hotmail or Messenger accounts, and at this time it's not 100 per cent clear what was behind the outage.

Some initial reactions to the news included fears that the outage was caused by an attack by hackers. However, Microsoft has made certain to quell those fears and points out that everything is back to normal when it comes to both programs.

Microsoft Blames Server Failure

"This morning, around 9:30am PST, the Windows Live ID sign-in service experienced a partial outage that caused some customers to not be able to sign into services using Windows Live ID for approximately one hour," Microsoft noted in a statement. "The service is now restored to normal. Microsoft apologizes for any inconvenience this has caused customers." (Source:

Early reports from the Windows Live team suggested the failure of a single server may have been behind the outage. The load became simply too much for the remaining servers, leading to the larger issue.

"Windows Live ID logins were failing for some customers, and this increased the load on our remaining servers," wrote Arthur De Haan, a Windows Live team member.

"We took the problematic server offline and brought a new server into rotation. We identified the root cause and fixed it in less than an hour, but it took a while to resolve the logjam that had built up in the meantime, and to redistribute the load to normal levels."

Outage Could Have Long-Term Impact on Cloud Market

The trouble is, some users might see the outage as evidence that Hotmail simply isn't being supported enough by Microsoft.

A number of users prevented from entering their accounts were presented with this message: "We are experiencing higher than normal volume and are therefore unable to service your request at this time." Suggestions by Microsoft included refreshing the page or clicking 'back' and then returning to the log-in site.

None of those options worked.

The outage had little impact on Microsoft's stock, which by 2:15pm had risen 39 cents to $28.19. (Source:

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