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Office 365 outage: Sign-in issues blight users across Europe and the US

Microsoft claims to have resolved a “subscription activation” issue that left Office 365 users unable to access its services yesterday

Microsoft claims to have resolved sign-in issues with its Office 365 cloud service that hit users across Europe and the US for several hours on Thursday 16 August.

Users of the software giant’s cloud-based online productivity suite are said to have received “subscription activation-related” error messages when attempting to log into the service yesterday, with many airing their frustration about the situation on Twitter.

The outage-monitoring site DownDectector also suggested that the issue appeared to be mainly affecting users in parts of Europe and the US.

In response, Microsoft posted a tweet confirming that an investigation into the problem was under way at about 11am Eastern time, which was followed up several hours later with posts claiming the issued had been mitigated and resolved.

Computer Weekly contacted Microsoft for further clarification on the cause of the outage and for details about the number of people potentially affected by it, but had not received a response at the time of publication.

Pete Banham, cyber resilience expert at Microsoft-focused email management company Mimecast, said enterprises need to ensure resilience is built into their Office 365 deployments to ensure their businesses can keep operating during downtime incidents.

“IT teams and frustrated users struggled to remain productive [on Thursday] as they were unable to log in and use Office 365 services,” he said. “Due to operational dependency on the Microsoft environment, businesses are putting themselves at risk of being affected by commonplace outages such as this.

“Anyone outsourcing a critical communication service like cloud or hosted email must consider a cyber-resilience strategy that assures the ability to recover and continue with business as usual.”

Apart from fielding queries about yesterday’s outage, the Microsoft Office 365 Twitter account was also having to respond to questions about a recurring subscription activation issue that Mac users of the software have been encountering for a few weeks.

Read more about Office 365 outages

  • Microsoft Azure and Office 365 users across Europe are suffering from login issues that are preventing them from accessing Microsoft’s suite of cloud-based infrastructure and business applications.
  • Office 365 users across parts of the UK and Europe experienced technical difficulties this morning, while subscribers to Microsoft's free email service, Outlook, have been reporting connectivity problems for much of the day.

According to numerous social media reports about the problem, many Mac users are struggling to save work they have completed in Office 365, and are encountering errors that suggest their subscription for the service has been deactivated.

The Microsoft support message board suggests the issue has been affecting Mac users since the middle of July, with more than 178 forum members saying they are experiencing difficulties in this area.

Microsoft said on Twitter that the outage and the problems Mac users have encountered with Office 365 recently are unrelated and, according to the message board, suggestions of a workaround fix for the issues have been provided for those affected.

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