Hotmail users complained to CNET News.com that the service could not be accessed several times during the day on Friday. Microsoft's instant-messaging application, MSN Messenger, also had connectivity problems.
News.com's previous coverage
of Passport-related problems
(Aug. 15, 2001)
(Nov. 2, 2001)
(Sept. 2, 2002)
(Jan. 30, 2003)
(May 8, 2003)
The Hotmail Web site and other Passport-powered sites could only be successfully accessed 50 percent of the time, according to Internet performance measurement service Keynote Systems. Usually, the sites can be accessed 100 percent of the time.
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"If there is an issue, it is causing the same effects across different (Microsoft) domains," Patel said, adding, "It's not impacting the Internet as a whole."
Microsoft's identity service has been stable in recent history, but Passport has had its share of troubles.
Almost a year ago, a flaw in the system could have allowed an attacker tousing only the victim's e-mail address. Software flaws in the system's security also left consumers' financial data vulnerable, forcing Microsoft to to protect people from having their data stolen.
Microsoft does not believe that the current issue could affect customer data, the representative said.