[Thursday January 28, 2010 – sent to MOS subscribers at 9:07pm]

Dear Customer:

Microsoft Online Services strives to provide exceptional service for all of our customers. On January 28, customers served from a North America data center may have experienced intermittent access to services included in the Business Productivity Online Suite. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you and your employees.

We are committed to communicating with our customers in an open and honest manner about service issues and the steps we’re taking to prevent recurrences.

  • What happened?  
    • Monitoring alerted us to a possible issue with networking.
    • Troubleshooting procedures ultimately pointed to a problem with network infrastructure, resulting in intermittent access for customers.
  • What actions have been taken to prevent a recurrence?
    • We have identified the root cause, and have taken steps to remediate the network issues.

We understand that any disruption in service may result in a disruption to your business. As a gesture of our commitment to ensuring the highest quality service experience, we are proactively providing your organization a 25 percent credit on your next monthly invoice. You do not need to contact Microsoft to receive this credit.

If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our customer support is available 24 hours a day by telephone or via Service Requests submitted from the Microsoft Online Services Administration Center.

Thank you for choosing Microsoft Online Services to host your business productivity applications. We appreciate your business.


The Microsoft Online Services Team

Well, that clears it all up, doesn’t it? There was “a possible issue with networking” and diligent work by top engineers identified that there was a “problem with network infrastructure,” so they promptly “took steps to remediate the network issues.”

I honestly can’t think of any way to make that any more vague.

This outage was handled badly during the day and I wish there had been some transparency instead of an evasive explanation in the evening. Unlike other product lines that Microsoft has dabbled in and dropped, I think Microsoft is seriously committed to providing long-term enterprise-quality hosted Exchange services, so with luck this will be an isolated event instead of a precursor to more problems.

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