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Downtime at Microsoft (Updated)

American toilet
Microsoft Azure: Down it goes



Summary: Technical and organisational downtimes at Microsoft Corporation

MICROSOFT WANTS the world to believe that so-called 'cloud computing' ain't ready to replace its desktop franchise. Or so it wanted people to believe until it realised that antagonising the inevitable is a poor strategy.



One of Microsoft's talking points [1, 2] against natural change is that 'clouds' might go offline every now and then, thereby disrupting workflow (let's pretend that viruses cause no downtimes). So far we have noticed that short downtimes for Google receive a lot of media attention, whereas Microsoft's are hardly noticed by journalists who turn a blind eye to such problems.

An hour or so offline may be tolerable at times, but how does it feel for Microsoft to be offline for just under 24 hours?

Microsoft’s fledgling Azure Services platform, a beta offering that offers cloud computing services, suffered a 22 hour outage this weekend.


Almost no-one but Microsoft bloggers has actually covered this. We've looked at many sites, but this is scarcely covered. There are a few points worth making here:

  1. Microsoft can use "beta" as an excuse
  2. Microsoft gives a bad reputation to such 'clouds', which may work to its advantage by reducing confidence in SaaS
  3. Almost nobody uses Azure, so reporters neither notice nor care


In any event, this is a failure which is worth keeping track of. Another seems to be resulting from Microsoft's business problems, which Cringely claims rationalise a reduction/elimination of half of the company's staff [1, 2]. There is also a new revelation that the rise in unemployment in Microsoft's main area outpaces that of the rest of the United States. Might this be the impact of people who do not directly work for Microsoft? The Microsoft ecosystem is far broader than the company's core.

“Might this be the impact of people who do not directly work for Microsoft?”Having already witnessed protests from Microsoft's on-contract/temporary workers, we are now finding more unrest from other workers. In addition, yesterday we wrote about the closure of Microsoft's fan press (at least as a newspaper distribution house) and now we find that Joseph Tartakoff, a Microsoft watcher, is being replaced by Andrea James at the Microsoft blog. One of his last posts there was about Microsoft workers not accepting wage cuts.

Has Joseph Tartakoff just jumped this ship too? There is nothing that can confirm this other than abrupt changes in the Microsoft blog. If true, then Todd Bishop's successor (to whom it took a short while to find a replacement) didn't last long. Microsoft's collapse as of late could neither have inspired much confidence nor helped those who are dedicated to covering the company's dwindling endeavours, of which there were too few recently (the company is in "brace" mode).

By the way, will IBM really buy Sun Microsystems? It seems pretty plausible an acquisition.

Update: Joe has mailed us the following update.

I just wanted to clarify that I am leaving the P-I because the P-I ceased print publication Tuesday. It's not a commentary about Microsoft. Only a skeleton staff will stay behind to man the P-I's Web site.

I'll continue to blog about Microsoft starting Monday at paidContent.org and my posts can be watched at twitter.com/josephtartakoff.

I'd appreciate it if you could update your post with that information.

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