Microsoft fixes the glitch in MSN Messenger service

Associated Press

SEATTLE — Microsoft Corp. said its MSN Messenger service was mostly restored Tuesday following a weeklong outage, but warned that some users may have lost their personal address books during the system failure.

A technical glitch left about a third of MSN Messenger users disconnected or without access to their personal address books last week, and many were still unable to access the system Monday.

Microsoft had sought to assure users they had not permanently lost their personal address books, called "buddy lists" or "contact lists." But on Tuesday MSN vice president Rick Bray conceded that the outage caused some permanent damage.

"Due to unforeseen circumstances in the final restoration of data, we were unable to restore contact lists for a small number of MSN Messenger customers," Bray said in a statement. The exact number of customers affected was not given.

Microsoft product manager Bob Visse said service Tuesday also was slower than usual, and many users had to try several times before logging on successfully. He blamed the slowness on an unusually high volume of users.

Bray pledged to improve safeguards in the future. Next week, he said, the company will release an update that automatically saves buddy lists on computer hard drives.

This is the second time this year that MSN Messenger has had a major outage. Microsoft acknowledged in February that it had experienced problems with the servers that handle MSN Messenger, after denying for several days that problems existed. That outage came after a series of technical glitches and a hacker attack that prevented many people from accessing the company’s Web site.

MSN Messenger, a free service for sending instant text messages across the Internet, is in bitter competition with AOL Instant Messenger, the industry leader, and Yahoo!’s messenger, which is No. 3 behind Microsoft.

Copyright ©2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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