Microsoft Hotmail went down temporarily April 9 due to a networking issue encountered while Microsoft was performing routine maintenance, Microsoft says. Some Xbox Live and Zune Marketplace users were also reportedly affected. As more and more users venture onto Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail for their cloud-based e-mailing needs, temporary outages have more effect on both the general population and the enterprise.
Windows Live Hotmail users who signed into their accounts on the evening of
April 9 may have experienced a shock when they received a message that said,
"You don't have an inbox ... yet."
According to Microsoft, an undisclosed number of users experienced a
temporary outage "caused by a networking issue" that has since been
resolved. User messages remained intact on Microsoft's server during the
downtime, which reports said also affected some Xbox Live and Zune Marketplace
Hotmail services were completely resolved by 11:25
PDT. The outage had lasted roughly 2 hours.
In a posting on a corporate blog, the Windows Live team said the networking
issue was "encountered while doing routine maintenance."
e-mail services such as Hotmail have attracted more and more users,
can affect tens of millions of people. According to ComScore, Yahoo Mail had
91.9 million unique users in 2008, followed by AOL
Mail with 46.6 million users (and another 7.2 million visitors to AIM
Mail), Hotmail with 43.5 million and Gmail with 29.6 million.
For its part, Google
has been working on transforming its Gmail
service into a more robust and enterprise-ready messaging and collaboration tool,
adding applications such as Google
and chat features, and enabling
offline use of Gmail.
Microsoft, Yahoo Zimbra and other e-mail clients also
offer offline access.
However, IT companies have wrestled with the challenge of providing as much
uptime as possible to those users relying on their cloud-based messaging and
In February and March 2009, Google
Gmail experienced some outages
of a few hours' duration. While service was
restored quickly to the bulk of users, after the February outage Google
ended up offering 15 days of free service
to those enterprise customers and
others paying $50 per year for expanded versions of Gmail and Google Apps.