A widespread, international outage on February 26 affecting users of a number of Microsoft's Windows Live services affected those not already logged into Microsoft's Web services via Live ID, according to Microsoft. But exactly why so many of its services were inaccessible for most of Tuesday is still not something Microsoft is discussing.
According to a statement attributed to Samantha McManus, Windows Live product manager, which Microsoft e-mailed to me at 5 p.m. EST on February 26:
"Earlier today, an issue began that has caused some consumers worldwide to experience difficulty logging in to their Windows Live ID accounts. The issue is purely impacting the log-in process for customers and largely does not impact customers who were already logged in. We have made significant progress in decreasing the number of customers currently affected since initial reports, but the issue has not yet been completely resolved.
"Microsoft is working quickly and aggressively to resolve the issue and expects to restore normal operation to all customers shortly. Our customers have come to expect a high level of service reliability in their experience with Windows Live and we apologize for any inconvenience this particular issue has caused consumers."
Users throughout the U.S. and Europe have been reporting inability to log in to their e-mail, instant-messaging, photo-sharing; calendaring, storage and other services throughout the day on Tuesday. I was unable to log into Windows Live Hotmail until late afternoon EST; I managed to log onto Windows Live Messenger for the first time a couple of hours earlier.
Some users said even though they were logged into Live services before the outage hit, they had problems logging out.
I asked Microsoft what caused the outage and how many users were impacted. No answer. If and when Microsoft shares more information, I'll post it here.
Update: (6:15 p.m. EST). Another statement, attributable to Samantha McManus, Windows Live product manager, sent via e-mail:
"Earlier today, an issue began that has caused some consumers worldwide to experience difficulty logging in to their Windows Live ID accounts. This issue has since been resolved and normal operations have been restored to all customers."
In other words, the Windows Live update lasted all day for many. Microsoft still is not commenting on what caused the outage or how many were affected.