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Microsoft applications like Outlook and Teams were down for thousands of users

A building with offices belonging to Microsoft is seen in Chevy Chase, Maryland, January 18, 2023.
Saul Loeb
AFP via Getty Images
A building with offices belonging to Microsoft is seen in Chevy Chase, Maryland, January 18, 2023.

Updated January 25, 2023 at 1:20 PM ET

Microsoft says it has rolled back a routing change that appeared to cause thousands of its customers to lose access to applications like Outlook and Teams on Wednesday morning.

Downdetector, which tracks software outage reports, showed a spike in issues with Microsoft 365 apps (formerly known as Office 365) around 3 a.m. ET.

Countries where the workday was underway, like Japan, India and the United Kingdom, each registered thousands of outage reports.

Microsoft said in a status reportthat users were "unable to access multiple Microsoft 365 services," including Teams, Outlook, Sharepoint, Exchange, OneDrive and Defender.

The tech giant originally said it had isolated the problem to "networking configuration issues," later saying that it had "rolled back a network change that we believe is causing impact." It updated its status report to show the applications were fully accessible again shortly after 7:30 a.m. ET.

The company will continue to monitor and investigate the issue, it said.

International media outlets such as Sky News reported that a German interior ministry spokesperson pledged to also investigate the outage, implying that "culprits" might be at fault.

In a statement provided to NPR, Microsoft confirmed the outage was a result of a network change and not outside actors.

Nearly 345 million people use Microsoft products globally, according to the company's last public disclosure, in 2021. Applications like Outlook and Teams serve as a critical engine for many businesses, schools and service organizations.

But that popularity hasn't kept Microsoft as a company immune from an economic slowdown that's sent a wave of layoffs across Silicon Valley.

On Tuesday, Microsoft reported its revenue was only increasing by 2%, its slowest growth in six years. In a three month period that ended in December, the company's overall profit fell 12%, to $16.4 billion.

The company announced last week that it would slash 10,000 jobs, a fraction of its 200,000-person workforce.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Emily Olson
Emily Olson is on a three-month assignment as a news writer and live blog editor, helping shape NPR's digital breaking news strategy.

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