Technicians were installing routers to upgrade the .Net Messenger service, which underlies both Windows Messenger and MSN Messenger. The technicians incorrectly configured the routers. Service was out from 9 am to 2 pm Eastern time on Monday. Ironically, the routers were being installed to make the service more reliable.
"We are looking at internal processes to make sure nothing like this ever happens again. It was a serious thing. We apologize," said Larry Grothaus, lead product manager for Microsoft.
Dana Gardner, an analyst with Aberdeen Group, said the outage will give Microsoft a black eye.
"We are at a juncture now where Microsoft and other providers are trying to convince businesses that their services are suitable for mission-critical communications," Gardner said. Reliability will be a key criterion for enterprises looking to install instant message systems; other criteria will be security and cost.