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Microsoft Teams Suffers Outage As Demand Surges

The outage has mainly affected workers in Europe and comes as more people are logging in from home due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Microsoft Teams collaboration platform suffered an outage lasting two hours in Europe Monday morning, just as a greater number of workers are turning to the tool amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Microsoft said in a tweet that it was "investigating messaging-related functionality problems within Microsoft Teams" as of 4:50 a.m. Eastern Time. Several reports indicated the application had gone down completely for European users, however.

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

The problems were mitigated as of 8:58 a.m. Eastern Time, Microsoft said in a follow-up tweet from its @MSFT365Status account. In a statement provided to CRN, Microsoft said that “we’ve taken steps to address an issue that a subset of our customers may have experienced. Our engineering teams continue to actively monitor performance and usage trends.”

The Teams outage does not appear to be resolved. As of 10:46 a.m. Eastern Time, Microsoft reported on Twitter that "we've received reports that impact associated with TM206544 is ongoing" and that the investigation into the issue has resumed. An outage map on downdetector.com showed the Teams outage affecting users primarily in Europe, but also in parts of the U.S. and India.

The Teams outage comes as more workers are mandated to work from home--either by their workplace, government or both--in an attempt to protect workers and slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Teams includes group chats, instant messaging and video/audio meetings, along with integration of Microsoft and third-party applications. The tool is included as part of an Office 365 or Microsoft 365 subscription.

Microsoft has been actively seeking to boost Teams usage during the coronavirus outbreak and the resulting rise in remote work. On March 5, Microsoft said it would offer a free Office 365 E1 subscription for six months to businesses and educational institutions that aren't currently licensed for Teams.

"You and your team depend on our tools to stay connected and get work done. We take that responsibility seriously, and we have a plan in place to make sure services stay up and running during impactful events like this," said Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, in a March 5 blog post--citing a "business continuity plan" that anticipates impacts to the service including a "sudden increase in usage."

The outage also comes as Microsoft is gearing up to transition its Office 365 user base from Skype for Business Online to Teams. As of July 31, 2021, Skype for Business Online will be retired and no longer accessible.

Teams, which competes primarily with collaboration app Slack, had recently seen an even longer outage on Feb. 3. Teams went down on that occasion for nearly three hours as a result of an expired authentication certificate, Microsoft said at the time.

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