Microsoft Outage Halts Business Operations Globally

Microsoft Outage Halts Business Operations Globally

News by Marge Serrano
Published: January 26, 2023

Microsoft announced on Wednesday that the network issue behind the outage of Azure, its cloud computing platform, has been resolved and that all of its services, such as Teams and O365, are now fully restored. 


The multinational tech corporation's status page listed Teams, Outlook, O365, OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online and Microsoft Exchange Online as the affected services. Azure's website indicated that its platform for governments and China was not affected by the outage but that the rest of its user base from America, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa was. 

Microsoft pinpointed that Azure's outage stemmed from a connectivity issue with the Microsoft Wide Area Network (WAN) due to a recent network change that the software titan promptly rolled back. 

Apart from disrupting the online connection of users to Azure, Microsoft explained that the internal connection to its data centers was also interrupted. Microsoft assured users that it was working on the issue and utilizing "additional infrastructure to expedite the recovery process." 

The outage effectively shut down the communication of significant retailers, given that Azure has a user base consisting of over 500 million regular users and 15 million corporate clients. 

While outages are typical among tech companies, as Meta and Google also sometimes grapple with system issues, incidents like this cause a ripple effect on businesses as most of the world's biggest companies use Microsoft. 

Reliance on online platforms for business operations and communication has surged because remote employment has become increasingly common. Microsoft Teams, in particular, is an essential digital service for its 280 million users, not just for the retail industry but also for the educational sector. The workflow was interrupted because teachers and students alike couldn't access the channels where they store files and conduct meetings. 

As a result, the hashtag #MicrosoftTeams trended on Twitter, with users turning to social media to voice their feedback on the issue and share updates on restoration progress.  

Cloud Space Issues 

Microsoft did not give an official number of affected users, but Downdetector, an outage tracking website, showed thousands of cases worldwide. 

UK-based banks and financial institutions were able to continue with their daily operations due to using other communication services like Movius and Symphony. Deutsche Boerse Group stated that the outage had no impact on the operations of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, while two bankers in London told Reuters that they did not even notice an ongoing issue. Commerzbank AG, an international bank from Germany, stated that Microsoft looked into the issues that affected its services. 

"I think there is a huge debate to be had on resiliency in the comms and cloud space and the critical applications," said Symphony Chief Executive Brad Levy. 

Microsoft's forecast for Azure's third-quarter earnings ranges from $21.7B to $22B despite customer trends showing conservative spending. BOFA Global Research estimated that Azure reached a 30% share of the cloud computing market in 2022 and is just behind rival AWS, Amazon's cloud computing service. 

Despite the profitable fiscal reports, Microsoft still laid-off workers from 10,000 jobs last week as a precaution against the weakening economy. Currently, its shares have dropped to 3.2%, equating to $234.41. 

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