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When Tech Goes Wrong – The Biggest Tech Outages o...

October 09, 2013

Most of the time, we expect search engines, social networks and other forms of web technology to be up and running – but recent events have shown that even big hitters like Apple and Google get it wrong from time to time. Here’s a run-down of some of the most high-profile tech outages this year – you can see more at this handy visual resource.

July 10th – Google

It may have only lasted an hour, but the search giant’s services are now so ubiquitous that the short downtime of Gmail, Google Drive, Google Plus, YouTube, Google Docs and Google Calendar caused huge disruption. Reports of disrupted services began around 9:30am on July 10th and by 10:40 the problems appeared to be fixed – but not before angry users voiced their disapproval on Twitter in droves.

January 31st – Amazon

Again, the popular shopping website’s outage only lasted for around an hour and seemed to be restricted to the website’s home page, but this was enough for web users to start theorising about hacker attacks. According to analysts, the one hour of downtime may have translated to a painful $5 million (£3.2 million) of lost revenue for Amazon.

March 14th – Microsoft Mail

Both Hotmail and Outlook suffered a major loss of service that went on for nearly 16 hours in March, apparently caused by a firmware update that knocked out one of Microsoft’s servers. Mailboxes were up and running again by March 15th. However, the huge number of people who depend on Outlook at work meant the disruption was felt widely.

January 10th – Dropbox

Dropbox, which provides cloud storage for users to access their documents from any device, became the first high-profile casualty of 2013 with a service interruption that lasted for 15 hours. Caused by a synchronisation issue between the client software and servers, the effects of the downtime were exacerbated by the company’s insistence that a fix was just around the corner.

February 28th – Apple iCloud

Apple’s iCloud service suffered eight hours of downtime in February, leaving around 25 million users without access to their mail, contacts, calendar and backups. The iCloud had another outage on April 23rd, which affected sign-on, email, GameCenter and iTunes services, although that time most services were restored within a few hours.

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