Microsoft finally fixes Outlook.com issues; offers apology and explanation [Update]

It's been a bit of a rough week for some users of Microsoft's Outlook.com email service. The problems started on Wednesday as reports came that some people could not see their emails on the Outlook.com website. Microsoft confirmed these problems via its live status page, and the issues extended to the company's SkyDrive and People services as well.

These problems lasted for a few hours, but the People and SkyDrive issues were dealt with later that same day. The same went for people who wanted to view Outlook.com email on the web. However, Microsoft reported that some users were still experiencing problems with syncing their Outlook.com emails with mobile devices.

These problems extended into Thursday and Friday, but now Microsoft's live status page indicates that the Outlook.com syncing issues have now been resolved. The company also used its status history page to offer both an apology and a detailed explanation for what happened to Outlook.com this week.

Microsoft's statement said:

This incident was a result of a failure in a caching service that interfaces with devices using Exchange ActiveSync, including most smart phones. The failure caused these devices to receive an error and continuously try to connect to our service. This resulted in a flood of traffic that our services did not handle properly, with the effect that some customers were unable to access their Outlook.com email and unable to share their SkyDrive files via email.

In order to stabilize the overall email service, we temporarily blocked access via Exchange ActiveSync. This allowed us to restore access to Outlook.com via the web and restore the sharing features of SkyDrive. These parts of the service were fully stabilized within a few hours of the initial incident. A significant backlog of Exchange ActiveSync requests accumulated as we worked to stabilize access. To avoid another flood of traffic, we needed to restore access to Exchange ActiveSync slowly, which meant that some customers remained impacted for a longer period of time.

Microsoft said they have learned from this particular incident and have increased the network bandwidth in the system that was affected by the problems this week. Microsoft has also changed how error handling is accomplished for devices that use Exchange ActiveSync. Microsoft pledged to continued to monitor their systems and make more changes if needed.

The status history page ended with Microsoft saying, "We want to apologize to everyone who was affected by the outage, and we appreciate the patience you have shown us as we worked through the issues."

Update: Well it looks like those mobile sync issues with Outlook.com have popped up again. The live status page shows yet another notice that says, "A small percentage of mobile users may experience intermittent issues while syncing email."

Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

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21 Comments

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Its still not fixed!

Outlook


There's a problem with Outlook at the moment.

There's a problem with Outlook at the moment.

Details

Problem A small percentage of mobile users may experience intermittent issues while syncing emails. 17 August 19:36

I never experienced an outage when I was on Hotmail (10+ years). I've now experienced two withing a year on Outlook.com. I can understand why with services becoming more complex.

Is Outlook.com crash at Firefox a feature? It %50 percent crashes when creating new email. Whole world has to write lots of code just for stupid IE, then MS don't fix that!

Dead'Soul said,
Is Outlook.com crash at Firefox a feature? It %50 percent crashes when creating new email. Whole world has to write lots of code just for stupid IE, then MS don't fix that!

Considering that outlook.com works fine on IE, Chrome and Opera, I'd say that is a firefox problem...not Outlook.

-Razorfold said,
Considering that outlook.com works fine on IE, Chrome and Opera, I'd say that is a firefox problem...not Outlook.

More likely an extension problem, works perfectly on Firefox 23 here.

Ok, it may be a firefox problem.

As i said, then why all web developers trying everything to fix their code to run at stupid IE?

Microsoft must sure its service run at all platforms.

Dead'Soul said,
Ok, it may be a firefox problem.

As i said, then why all web developers trying everything to fix their code to run at stupid IE?

Microsoft must sure its service run at all platforms.


Why do web devs feel the need to use browser prefixes? That's what causes a lot of incompatibility.

ie,9,10,11 have been pretty standard compliant.

Dead'Soul said,
Is Outlook.com crash at Firefox a feature? It %50 percent crashes when creating new email. Whole world has to write lots of code just for stupid IE, then MS don't fix that!

Had had it happen in Gmail as well as Facebook for the Mrs. Website reliance on jQuery/AJAX and some issues in the newer JavaScript engine would be my guess.

wingliston said,
Browsers still crash? I haven't had a crash in years.

The only one I can get to crash regularly during development is Firefox. Chrome and IE10 seem to prefer hanging over crashing. Of course sometimes I have to go kill the process, so it's kind of a crash.

Dead'Soul said,
Is Outlook.com crash at Firefox a feature? It %50 percent crashes when creating new email. Whole world has to write lots of code just for stupid IE, then MS don't fix that!

I am using outlook as my primary webmail and it works fine on firefox. May be you should update your firefox????

kidjenius said,
did google explain why their services went down?

Too many Windows Phone users were accessing YouTube without the proper HTML5 app..

kidjenius said,
I like the transparency out of curiosity, did google explain why their services went down?

They do release technical status on their appstatus page
I guess this time it's either too technical to say on a page or maybe because 4 minutes is really less than 4 days

sometimes they do make a full report that take a few day's like that one
http://static.googleuserconten...atus/ir/1avdhb88rry1q0l.pdf

they are one of the most open company about issues that I know of

**** happens. Google went down for a few minutes and the internet didn't know what to do. These companies are hosting up a massive amount of services and doing a lot of changing at this particular point in time. It actually good and a lot of that thank goes to Apple, at least for smartphone experiences in the US.