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Amazon site hit by brief outage

The Net retailer's site regains functionality after a near 20 minute outage, just as the holiday season is about to get underway.

The site was jammed today, just as the holiday season is about to get underway.

The site went down about 1:40 p.m. PT and the outage lasted roughly 30 minutes. Most of the company's stores--including books, music and electronics--were inaccessible to customers. Users could still access the company's zShops and auction areas.

Amazon's home page read: "We're sorry but our Books, Music, DVD & Video, Toys & Games, Electronics & Software, and Home Improvement stores are closed temporarily. We expect to be back soon."

The note added, "We apologize for any inconvenience, and thank you for your patience."

Amazon spokesman Bill Curry attributed the outage to problems stemming from scheduled site maintenance, but declined to give further details.

"These are complex systems and sometimes they hiccup," Curry said, repeating comments made following previous outages.

This is the third outage for Amazon this month. The Net retailer suffered two separate downtimes on Nov. 4, including a 30-minute outage.