Netflix: Tech Distribution Problem Solved

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Netflix has finally resolved a technology problem that since Tuesday had crippled its ability to mail DVDs to subscribers of its movie rental service.

All Netflix distribution centers are now operating normally, and millions of DVDs that should have been shipped between Tuesday and Thursday should arrive Saturday, the company said in the Netflix Community Blog late Friday morning U.S. Eastern Time.

Netflix has been praised for its clever use of the Web and of computer technology in general to disrupt for the better the movie rental business. Thus, it's surprising that a technology problem dogged it for days and caused a major disruption to its own business.

The company's Web site wasn't affected by the problem. It remained online, letting subscribers manage their accounts and watch movies online.

Netflix provided no details about the technology malfunction that caused the problem.

Netflix first acknowledged the problem in a blog posting Tuesday, saying a "technology issue" would prevent it from shipping DVDs that day, shutting down its core mail-based delivery operations.

By Wednesday, Netflix shipped DVDs from about half of its distribution centers, before operations collapsed again, preventing the company from putting movies in the mail on Thursday morning. The company got some distribution centers up again on Thursday afternoon.

In a status update posted Thursday afternoon, Netflix said it hoped to stamp out the problem overnight and resume normal operations on Friday, but cautioned that problems might persist. "The issues we've faced over the last several days have been significant, and there's no guarantee at this point that our shipping operations will be fully restored by tomorrow [Friday]," the company said.

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