Outages cast doubts on MS online services

Scott dunn By Scott Dunn

With the recent public betas of Office Live Workspace and Microsoft Online Services, the Redmond company is ratcheting up its efforts to deliver the power of MS Office — or at least a portion of it — to the Internet.

But Microsoft’s ability to offer software as a service (SaaS) has come under fire due to server outages and bugs that have plagued the company’s online services in the last several months.

Early missteps in bringing Office to the Web

Microsoft’s SaaS efforts are off to a very bumpy start. In recent weeks and months, widespread and long-lasting outages of Windows Live Hotmail, Live Messenger, and other new online services have left many of its customers wondering whether Microsoft is up to the challenge.

Failures of Microsoft services since last summer have reportedly affected millions of subscribers, and some of the problems have persisted for several weeks.

A little over a month ago, the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) was struck by a series of outages that confounded customers. On Friday, Feb. 29, and Saturday, Mar. 1, MSDN subscribers were unable to download products or product keys.

“There was a downtime to complete some system work that had been started four weeks ago,” wrote MSDN and TechNet subscription product manager Julie H. Cairn in the Official MSDN Subscriptions blog. “The fact that the completion work this weekend would even impact subscriber downloads was totally missed by those that could have gotten a notice posted externally. No excuses — just an apology.”

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