Dear Microsoft: Meet Karma
By Ken Magill
Did anyone notice a drop in responses from Hotmail and Outlook address holders last week?
If so, there was a reason.
Microsoft has issued an apology to Hotmail and Outlook address holders for a lengthy outage that occurred on the afternoon of March 12 and continued into the morning hours of March 13.
“[W]e do want to sincerely apologize to anyone that was unable to access their email during the interruption. Outages are something we take very seriously and invest a significant amount of our time and energy in doing our best to prevent,” wrote Arthur de Haan, a Microsoft vice president, in a blog post.
He then explained how the outage occurred:
“On the afternoon of the 12th, in one physical region of one of our datacenters, we performed our regular process of updating the firmware on a core part of our physical plant. This is an update that had been done successfully previously, but failed in this specific instance in an unexpected way. This failure resulted in a rapid and substantial temperature spike in the datacenter. This spike was significant enough before it was mitigated that it caused our safeguards to come in to place for a large number of servers in this part of the datacenter.”
Okay, so it was a temperature spike. But as one commenter noted, shouldn’t there have been some redundancies in place to avoid outages? Shouldn’t the whip smarties at Microsoft have been able to pinpoint this particular data center as a point of failure before it became one?
I know: Easy for me to say.
In any case, the outage was particularly delicious as it came on the heels of Microsoft’s despicable Scroogled campaign attempting to vilify Google’s Gmail for serving ads based on email content.
“Google earns money by violating your privacy. They go through every word of your personal Gmail so they can target you with ads,” says copy on Scroogled.com
“Every word of every email. Even the most private ones, like messages about relationships, health care, finances, and more. Do you feel violated yet?”
No Microsoft, I don’t feel violated. However, since I haven’t had any trouble with my Gmail account in the seven or so years I’ve had it, I do feel confident I won’t have the access problems your Hotmail and Outlook address holders had last week.
I’m not a big believer in Karma. And I certainly take no satisfaction in the idea that some email campaigns may have drawn lower responses because of a Microsoft webmail outage.
But it sure does seem like Microsoft got at least a small dose of what it deserves, doesn’t it?