Microsoft lost all email for 17,000 Hotmail customers, then botched the response. Is this a harbinger of Office 365 hassles?

Even a simple “We don’t know what’s going on, but here are the symptoms and we’re working on it” pinned to the top of the Hotmail forum would’ve been a breath of fresh air.

Instead, on Jan. 3, Microsoft posted an official terse explanation: “We have identified the source of the issue have restored email access to those who were effected.”

It’s now six days since the initial problem surfaced and we still don’t have any definitive word from Microsoft about what happened. In fact, we’re still getting conflicting stories. At 4:55 p.m. on Jan. 5, the tech support staff posted this response to a series of inquiries about still-missing messages:

I’d like you to know that we are actively working on resolving on this issue since it’s already under investigation. We will post back as soon as we have the latest news on what caused this issue. Thank you for your understanding.

 

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For heaven’s sake. Microsoft’s engineering team has been working on the problem for almost a week, and that’s the only explanation they can give us? Three days ago, we were told that “we have identified the source of the issue,” and now the support team’s telling us, “we are actively working on resolving this issue”?

Granted, on the Hotmail scale, 17,000 inboxes doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. But Microsoft’s ongoing fumbles in identifying and analyzing the problem; its trouble restoring user data; its muddled explanations of what happened and how the problems were resolved; and repeated communication gaffes with its customers certainly have me worried. How about you?