Failed Firmware Update Caused The 16-Hour Outlook, Hotmail Outage

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A routine sever firmware update resulted in an anything but routine outage for Microsoft’s Outlook and Hotmail. On March 12, Outlook.com and Hotmail were unavailable to some users, and as Microsoft details in a blog post, a firmware update caused servers to overheat and go offline for 16 hours. Apparently similar firmware updates had been successfully deployed in the past but something went haywire this time.

Most accounts housed on these servers were unavailable for nearly a full day. Thankfully, the outage doesn’t seem widespread. Barely any of our readers confirmed the outage affected their accounts. The Microsoft team started restoring access in waves on the night of the 12th with the task completed by 5:30AM on the 13th.

Of course any outage is bad for business, but this one is particularly bad. Microsoft is currently running a massive marketing campaign for Outlook.com, its rehash of Hotmail and answer to Gmail. Hotmail users are being migrated to the new service and the company has taken to the offensive, directly attacking Google and its service in video ads – presumably with no mention of their latest snafu.