Some users reporting Microsoft Office 365 access issues

Some users reporting Microsoft Office 365 access issues

Summary: Some Office 365 users are reporting problems accessing Exchange Online and Lync Online, two key components of Microsoft's hosted-app offering.


A few days after launching its consumer-facing Office 365 offering, Microsoft is experiencing an Office 365 outage affecting some users in the U.S. and possibly elsewhere.


Some users began reporting around 8:30 a.m. ET via Twitter and the Office 365 Community Forums that they could not access their hosted Exchange mail and Lync unified communications offerings, which are hosted in Microsoft datacenters. They also said they were not getting  updated status information via the Office 365 health dashboard.

I asked Microsoft officials for an update as to what's happening around 10 a.m. ET on February 1. No word back so far.

As of 10:15 a.m. ET, I am seeing reports that some users are now able to access their Office 365 services. 

Some users (thanks @WithinRafael, @bschorr and @magrom) said they thought a problem with Windows Azure Active Directory (WAAD) -- which is the authentication mechanism for Office 365 and other Microsoft properties -- could be at fault.

Microsoft launched Office 365 Home Premium on January 29. But this version of Office 365 -- in spite of the name -- doesn't provide users with access to Microsoft-hosted Exchange, SharePoint and Lync, unlike the other Office 365 plans.

Microsoft isn't slated to make the updated versions of SharePoint Online, Lync Online and SharePoint Online -- and the new Office 365 business plans incorporating these services -- widely available to new and existing customers until later this month. February 27 is considered the official launch date for the updated Office 365 small business, mid-size business and enterprise offerings.

Microsoft officials reiterated earlier this week that the company has been transitioning some of the existing Office 365 Enterprise users to the latest/updated version of Office 365 since late last fall.

For a good explanation of what Microsoft is launching and when in the Office 365 space, check out Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Aidan Finn's write-up on Office 365 "Office 2013."

Update (10:40 am ET): I am also seeing via Twitter reports of some users unable to access their Windows Intune and services, increasing public speculation that there's an Azure problem at the root of thes issues. I've also asked the Azure team for information as to what's going on. No word back yet.

Update (11:25 am ET): It's increasingly looking like Azure Active Directory authentication component is  could be -- at least in part -- what resulted in prolems across not just Office 365, but possibly also Windows Intune and Identity services were down for about an hour, according to this Office 365 health dashboard snippet that my ZDNet colleague Ed bott shared with me: 


There's still no word from Microsoft's Office 365 or Azure teams on this, so we're all still really guessing as to what happened and what's being done to resolve the situation.

Update (12:25 pm ET): The @Office365 twitter account has posted a status update, saying that "routine maintenance" caused the "short term" issue. Here's the tweet:



Update (12:45 pm ET): Just noticed the Windows Azure team posted an update on their RSS feed, as well. Here's what they are saying:

Feb 1 2013 4:18PM We evaluated that a scheduled network configuration change is the root cause of the issue. The necessary repair steps have been successfully implemented and validated. Availability of Compute and Access Control 2.0 services has been restored in the affected sub-regions. The impact was largely mitigated as of 7:54AM PST and full restoration is confirmed as of 8:18AM PST. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused our customers.


Topics: Cloud, Collaboration, Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Email down!!!

    This is getting ridiculous Email has been unstable for the last month!!! and currently been down for an hour. didn't have this many issues when using exchange onsite.. I thought the cloud was supposed to give us better uptime.. I have to say at this point Microsoft has failed to deliver.
  • Email down for some

    Enterprise customer here:
    Some users are down, some are working for both exchange and Lync.
    On hold for 1.5hrs with enterprise customer service... still no answer
    No status updates, etc.
    I understand outages, but lack of communication is ridiculous. Has no one at microsoft ever called the power company during an outage. It would be nice to hear a recorded message "We know there is a problem and were working to fix it"

    As I was typing this, my email just started working again.
    • Updates

      @Office365Status on twitter as well
  • Email down

    Over 2 hours without e-mail. Its not even possible to check e-mails through 365 "webmail"?!?
    Is'n there any secondary path to see the e-mails in 365???
    Jukka-Paco Halonen
  • Lync up for me but no OWA/Outlook

    I am getting some messages via Activesync on my mobile devices but it looks like the whole domain is offline for me.
    • Service restored

      Back up now. All services restored as of 10:55 EST.
  • Can't login

    Confirming inability to access O365 services as well as legacy Live@EDU services as well.
  • Yes, I am in the midwest,

    we had login issues for some users this morning and now they are back up.
    Ram U
  • Email Up

    Back online at our office after, approx. 1.5hr down. Good news is that I was still getting email on my phone with no interruption of service.
  • With all the incentives for cloudy,

    MS can rake in license money and be less inclined do improve their products...

    And that they're sitting on (how many billions) and lack the infrastructure needed and then find as many excuses as needed to "justify" the problems...

    People must enjoy being fleeced by salespeople.
  • oh well...

    cloud cuckoo land already, time to start packing Steve, wonde if some hick state college will give you a ranting tenancy...
  • Hope for the rest of us!

    Just goes to show what I always say, every hosting provider has issues and nobody can guarantee 100% uptime. Those who do protect it with so many caveats the SLA isn't worth the paper its written on.

    Hosted Exchange email and other elements of Office 365 are mission critical for the businesses that use them and the fall out for the customers can be disastrous if the provider gets it wrong as we've seen here.

    If Microsoft can't even hosted their own product reliably there is I say hope for those of us who do!
    Phil - Cloud4 Computers
  • Windows 365 pulisher

    I purchased 365 to have access to publisher and when I upload more than 75 -80 pages of photos and writings, when I exit and come back into the program, anything over that number has big red Xs where the info should be. Each time I call tech support, they want to accss my computer and then try to jack me up for three hundred dollars. Has anyone else experienced this?
    Larry o.