Microsoft hit by second Office 365 email outage in five days

For the second time this month, some Office 365 users in North America are experiencing email problems.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

On November 13, some Microsoft Office 365 customers in North America were reporting (via Twitter and email) that they were experiencing email problems -- just like they were five days ago.

A Microsoft spokesperson provided the following update around 2 pm ET today:

"On Tuesday, Nov. 13, some customers served from our North America data centers are experiencing intermittent access to e-mail services. Customers are being updated regularly via our normal communication channels. We sincerely apologize to our customers for any inconvenience."

This tweet was posted shortly thereafter:




This isn't the first time this month some North American Office 365 users experienced downtime. Email issues hit North American users on November 8, as well.

It's not immediately clear what's causing today's issue or what Microsoft is doing to head off more email-centric Office 365 outages. I've asked and will update this post with any further details if and when I hear back.

The latest service issues with Office 365 hit the same day that Microsoft and Hewlett Packard are touting a big win for Microsoft's Office 365 for Government platform. The pair are moving 600,000 Veterans Affairs users to Office 365 under a five-year agreement announced back in July 2012. The contract is worth $36 million.

Office 365 is the Microsoft-cloud-hosted bundle of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online. It competes with Google Apps/Docs. 

Microsoft is readying a number of new Office 365 packages and plans for introduction this month as part of its New Office/Office 2013 release.

Update: 6 pm ET on November 13. The Office 365 team tweeted that the issue has been resolved.


No word (still) from Microsoft about why this happened again or what the team is doing to head off email issues of this nature going forward.

Update No. 2 (November 14): Microsoft posted a blog entry detailing more about what caused the two outages. An antivirus issue caused the November 8 email issues, according to the post.  Yesterday's was due to a combination of maintenance, "network element" and load issues. The post also details steps Microsoft officials said they are taking to prevent these kinds of problems in the future.

A couple of folks commented at the end of the new post that they consider Microsoft's health dashboard to be inadequate for monitoring service status when outages occur. Microsoft has been using its Twitter account to provide status updates during the last few outages. 


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