Outage Hits Hotmail, MSN Messenger

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Internal technical problems at Microsoft closed down access for many MSN Messenger and Hotmail users, as well as some MSN Internet Access customers, 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. Pacific Time Friday, a company spokesperson says. The issue was identified at around 3 p.m. and solved an hour and a half later, she adds.

"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 spokesperson confirmed late on Friday afternoon.

Details Withheld

Microsoft is not releasing details of the cause of the outage.

"It was a completely internal issue," the spokesperson says. The problem had nothing to do with hackers or the security patch for MSN Messenger that Microsoft released earlier this week, she adds.

Microsoft did not disclose how many customers were unable to connect to those services in the interim.

Service complaints came mostly from the U.S. and Canada, but users outside of North America may also have been affected, the spokesperson says. 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 says.

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