Microsoft working to end Outlook and Teams outage around world

Microsoft says it has reversed a “network change” that it thinks may be linked to tens of thousands of users worldwide being unable to access its services, including Teams and Outlook.

Downdetector, which tracks website outages, showed more than 5,000 people in the UK reporting Outlook emails not working on Wednesday morning.

Other services including Teams and Xbox Live were also reported as not working.

Microsoft said some users had reported the problem had been addressed.

“We’re continuing to monitor the recovery across the service,” it said, noting that some customers were reporting improvements.

Though some users are still reporting problems to Downdetector, the total number is now in the hundreds rather than thousands worldwide.

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Previously, Microsoft said the problem was related to “networking configuration issues” and it was analysing the best way to address it without affecting other users.

The firm also said it was investigating an issue with its cloud computing service, Azure, affecting what it called “a subset of users”.

Many businesses rely on products like Azure to help power their own services.

Microsoft’s diagnosis of a wide-ranging network issue at its end, following a change it made itself, at least appears to rule out a cyber-attack. And the signs are that recovery is under way.

But for the thousands who lost access to services, it’s been a significant inconvenience. It is also a reminder of how much so many of us rely on Big Tech to help us run our lives and our businesses with products we can’t control when they go wrong.

Systems and networks are always more vulnerable when maintenance or upgrades are under way, as there’s more potential for the tiniest thing to either go wrong or not to plan – and the ripple effects, as we’ve seen today, can be widespread.

Eurostar, for example, tweeted that it was having problems with its services as a result of the outage affecting Azure – a popular rival to Amazon Web Services, and used by many big businesses for both storage and extra compute.

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Microsoft Teams is used by more than 280 million people globally, primarily in businesses and schools, where it can be of critical importance for calls, meetings and general service organisation.

According to Downdetector, issues have been reported in many countries around the world, with thousands of reports in India and Japan alone.

As well as Teams and Outlook, the services affected according to the Microsoft 365 status page are SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Microsoft Graph, PowerBi, and Microsoft 365 Admin Center.

Job cuts and sales down

The disruption comes a day after Microsoft reported its sales rose only 2% in the three months to December, to $52.7bn (£42.8bn) – with overall profits falling by 12% to $16.4bn.

This slowdown in sales accounts for the corporation’s smallest quarterly increase in more than six years.

Meanwhile, on 19 January, Microsoft announced it would reduce its workforce by roughly 5%, eliminating 10,000 jobs.

It is the latest round of staff redundancies to hit the tech industry, and will cost the business $1.2bn in severance and reorganisation costs.

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