MSN Messenger, Hotmail hit with outage

SAN FRANCISCO (03/12/2004) - Due to internal technical problems at Microsoft Corp., many MSN Messenger and Hotmail users, as well as some MSN Internet Access customers, were unable to connect to those services for about eight hours Friday.

Microsoft started receiving reports or problems with its instant messaging, Web based e-mail and dial-up Internet services at about 8.30 a.m. PT Friday, a company spokeswoman said. The issue was identified at around 3 p.m. PT and solved an hour and a half later, she said.

"The outage was pretty significant in terms of the number of customers it affected, but by now the services should be up and running for everybody," the Microsoft spokeswoman said late Friday afternoon.

Microsoft is not releasing details of the cause of the outage. "It was a completely internal issue," the spokeswoman said. The problem had nothing to do with hackers or the security patch for MSN Messenger that Microsoft released earlier this week, she said.

Service complaints came mostly from the U.S. and Canada, but users outside of North America may also have been affected, the spokeswoman said. Users who were already connected to the services were for the most part able to continue using them, the issue primarily affected new log-ons, she said.

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