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Microsoft Corrects Misstatement Of 775 Percent Surge In Demand For Cloud Services Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

The dramatic increase Microsoft reported Saturday was just for its Teams product, and just in Italy, the cloud giant made clear after incorrectly presenting those stats for its complete cloud portfolio in all regions enforcing shelter-in-place mandates.

The coronavirus crisis has driven millions of new users to Microsoft’s Teams collaboration platform, with adoption especially surging in hard-hit regions of the world. But a report from the cloud giant this weekend incorrectly attributed Teams’ exploding usage stats in Italy to its greater cloud portfolio before explaining the need to impose some temporary restrictions on Azure customers.

A Microsoft blog post on Saturday reported the tech giant had seen a "775 percent increase of our cloud services in regions that have enforced social distancing or shelter in place orders.”

That line was wrong—and stricken out in an update on Monday. Below was a clarification: rather than all cloud services in all regions enforcing strict social distancing measures, the almost 8x increase only pertained to monthly users of the Microsoft’s Teams collaboration platform, and only in a one-month period in Italy, a region of the world particularly impacted by the virus.

[Related: ‘Free’ Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts Meet Are Coronavirus Remote Workarounds: Cumulus Global]

In the same blog that misstated those usage stats, Microsoft explained the rapid acceleration of demand for Microsoft Azure services had led the company to impose "limits on free offers" and "limits on certain resources for new subscriptions.”

"We’re implementing a few temporary restrictions designed to balance the best possible experience for all of our customers," Microsoft said.

It’s not clear what the actual usage numbers and trends are for Azure and the much-broader category of “cloud services”—in Italy, in other regions with shelter-in-place orders, or for the product across all geographies.

But Teams has surely been a vital resource during the crisis as more companies around the world turn to voice and video conferencing for virtual meetings.

That rapid adoption has shown signs of stressing the system at least once. Two weeks ago, the collaboration platform endured a two-hour outage in Europe as a wave of companies implemented remote work environments to blunt spread of the virus.

A few days later, on March 19, Microsoft reported Teams had seen explosive growth, adding 12 million daily users in just that past week.

Saturday’s blog post also noted: “We have seen a very significant spike in Teams usage.”

The platform now has more than 44 million daily users who generated more than 900 million meeting and calling minutes per day that week. That means adoption has more than doubled in a short period, as four months ago, well before the current crisis, Teams had 20 million daily active users, Microsoft reported.

By March 11, when the broad shift to work-from-home started getting into swing, Teams saw an increase to 32 million daily users.

Microsoft also reported that usage of Windows Virtual Desktop--which simplifies the deployment of virtual desktops while providing a less expensive licensing model usage--has seen growth of more than 3X.

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