Very Frustrating’: Microsoft Office 365 Outage Hits U.S. Again The third Office 365 outage in less than two weeks has affected apps such as Microsoft Teams and Outlook

For the third time in 10 days, a Microsoft outage has caused Office 365 to go down–affecting Outlook, Teams and other critical productivity apps.

At 2:48 p.m. Eastern Time today, the Microsoft 365 Status account on Twitter posted that “We‘re investigating an issue affecting access to Microsoft 365 services. Users may see impact to Microsoft Teams, Outlook, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, and”

Things to Know About the Latest Microsoft Cloud Outage

An outage map on showed the Office 365 outage affecting users in several regions of the U.S., including the Northeast, parts of the Midwest and much of California.

The incident follows a five-hour outage on Sept. 28 and a four-hour outage on Oct. 1–and comes as countless companies operate with distributed and remote workforces that rely on Office 365 tools such as Teams and Outlook.

In an update late Wednesday afternoon to the Microsoft 365 Service health status page, Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft blamed a “recent update to network infrastructure” for today’s outage.

“Further investigation has confirmed that a recent update to network infrastructure resulted in impact to Microsoft 365 services,” Microsoft said on the page. “Our telemetry indicates continued recovery within the environment following the reversion of the update.”

The page pinpointed 2:10 p.m. ET today as the start time for the issues.

A channel source, who has been impacted by all three Office 365 outages in the last 10 days, said he couldn’t even get into an administrator’s console to get an update on the outage.

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“Microsoft needs to get its act together,” he said. “I’ve got customers reaching out to me telling me their email is not working. Microsoft needs to take corrective action to get this solved.”

The channel source believes the outages are either the result of a nagging DevOps issue, putting software code into production that is causing the outages, a cybersecurity attack or a problem caused by dramatic increases in the usage of Microsoft Teams.

“In 20-plus years of doing this I have never seen this many outages from Microsoft in such a short period of time,” he said. “I’m surprised. They usually have their act together. This is very frustrating.”

In response to a request for comment, Microsoft released a statement to CRN Wednesday evening: “We’ve mitigated the service interruptions that some customers may have experienced with Azure and M365 services. Our telemetry indicates service has recovered and we will continue to monitor service health.”

After the Sept. 28 outage, which included a failure of Azure Active Directory authentication, Microsoft had blamed a software “code issue.”

“A code issue caused a portion of our infrastructure to experience delays processing authentication requests, which prevented users from being able to access multiple M365 services,” Microsoft said in an email update to Microsoft administrators impacted by the outage.



Microsoft 365 saves you time and effort with transcription and voice commands in Word

By Dan Parish, Principal Group PM Manager – Natural User Interface & Incubation, Microsoft

Whether you are a reporter conducting interviews, a researcher recording focus group sessions, or an online entrepreneur recording informal discussions, you want to be able to focus on the people you’re talking to without worrying about taking notes and without having to spend hours transcribing your conversations after-the-fact. If that sounds like you, Transcribe in Word is here to help.

Now you can record your conversations directly in Word for the web and transcribe them automatically. Transcribe detects different speakers so after you finish recording, you can easily follow the flow of the transcript. After your conversation, you can revisit parts of the recording by playing back the time-stamped audio and you can even edit the transcript if you see something amiss. 

Your transcript will appear alongside the Word document, along with the recording, which enables you to leverage your transcript to create great content in the way that is best for you. Say you want to pull the perfect quote from an interview to support the main point of your story—just click the plus icon on any line of the transcript and voila, the exact quote is inserted. Want to send the entire transcript to your colleague? Simply click “add all to document” and your full transcript will be laid out in Word.

Like many people, you might use a variety of tools to get the job done – that’s why Transcribe enables you to upload audio or videos you recorded outside of Word. Whether you record on your phone or via one of the many calling and video conferencing apps, you can simply select the file to upload and transcribe. Transcribe supports .mp3, .wav, .m4a, or .mp4 files. 

Transcribe in Word is available today in Word for the web for all Microsoft 365 subscribers and is supported in the new Microsoft Edge or Chrome browsers. With Transcribe you are completely unlimited in how much you can record and transcribe within Word for the Web. Currently, there is a five-hour limit per month for uploaded recordings and each uploaded recording is limited to 200mb. Transcribe in Office mobile will be coming by the end of the year! Currently, transcribing audio into English (EN-US) is the only language supported, but we are working on support for more languages.

Transcribe in Word enables you to stay focused on your conversation in the moment, saves you valuable time and energy by transcribing it for you, and is integrated into Word so you can focus on the message of your document and not fuss around with different windows or applications.

An animated image showing the functionality of dictation in Word.

Break away from the keyboard using dictation with voice commands

Since Dictate arrived on the scene, millions of people have leveraged the power of their voice to conquer the blank page. Whether you’re stuck waiting in the car to pick up takeout, on a short walk to stretch your legs, have a temporary or permanent disability that makes typing difficult, or you just think better when on the move, you need flexibility to transition throughout your day while getting everything done. We’ve been adding voice commands to Dictate so that you can break away from the keyboard. Whether on desktop or mobile (or transitioning between devices), you can stay in the flow and focus on your message by using dictation with voice commands to add, format, edit, and organize your text. 

Say things like “start list” or “bold last sentence” to let your ideas flow without stopping to adjust your text. Voice commands understand a variety of symbols so you can add things like “ampersand” and “percent sign”, and you don’t have to sound like a robot! We’ve based commands on the way people naturally talk so that you can capture your ideas easily. So, saying things like “dot dot dot” when you can’t remember “ellipses” works just as well.

Since you’re constantly juggling work and life, you may get that phone call you’ve been waiting for while working on your paper. There’s no need to rush to the keyboard in a panic. Simply say “pause dictation” and take the call. Working with others in the document? You can collaborate using your voice too—say “add comment [with your content here]” and capture your message in one shot without missing a beat. 

Dictation can also help with informal writing as well—sometimes a message needs some personality! You can now say things like “smiley face” or “heart emoji” to give your message that little extra touch. Check out this article for a list of all the voice commands.

Dictate with voice commands in Word is available in Word for the web and Office mobile for free when signed into your Microsoft account. Voice commands are coming to Word desktop and Word for Mac apps towards the end of the year for Microsoft 365 subscribers.

We hope these new voice capabilities save you time and allow you the flexibility you require as you move throughout your busy day!




Improving our support processes and enhancing product capability is a constant process. It is our endeavor to provide exceptional service to our partners and customers. iVend 6.6 and iVend Support365 (Standard and Premium) is one such step in this direction. Periodic enablement sessions, online self-paced learning curriculum and product certifications have ensured a matured partner network and committed customers. These initiatives have significantly improved product knowledge and overall support capabilities of our partners.

We have, however, observed that our Global Support Team spends considerable time and effort in resolving issues which are mostly configuration issues and many times issues due to incorrect usage of the application. We have also observed that in most cases it is simply a lack of knowledge and understanding of how the system has been designed to work. These and such incidents not only lead to negative views of the application, but also consumes numerous hours of the support consultants.

Introducing iVend Support Packages

Considering today’s changing and challenging environment, we realise a need for more dedicated support options and are pleased to introduce iVend Support Packages. These are packages of pre-paid consulting and support hours that you may need for an experienced iVend specialist to look at your system or help you configure iVend or help resolve third-party integrations.

Upon the purchase of a Support Package the number of hours utilised in that package will be deducted from the total amount available. Additional Support Packages can be purchased at any time to top up your available support hours whenever necessary.

We hope you will agree that this new offering will significantly improve overall support capabilities for our partners, as iVend Support Packages are an easy way for all of us to keep costs under control.



Microsoft Word AI ‘to improve writing’

A new feature in Microsoft’s Word aims to help improve writing beyond the usual grammar fixes.

Using artificial intelligence, Ideas will suggest rewrites for clunky sentences as well as changes to make sure language is gender inclusive.

It will help users lay out different parts of a document, including tables, and suggest synonyms and alternative phrases to make writing more concise.

It will be cloud-based and initially available to users of Word Online only.

A test version of Ideas will go live in June, becoming more widely available in the autumn.

It was announced at Microsoft’s Build developer conference in Seattle.

Human creativity

In a blogpost to explain the changes, Microsoft said: “Writing requires a dash of uniquely human creativity. Artificial intelligence alone cannot do it for us, at least not very well. But AI can – and already is – helping us do things like make sure we spell words correctly and use correct grammar.

“As the AI in these products is becoming more sophisticated, they are helping us do more than spot a mis-spelled word.”

Rival Google announced its own AI-based writing tool for Google Docs recently, which it promised would be more than just a grammar-checker, being able to detect “nuances” in language.

Writer and AI expert Calum Chace said he thought the advance of AI in the sphere of writing could “only be a good thing”.

“It began with predictive text and the next evolution will be making changes to sentences, then entire paragraphs,” he said.

“The more AI can take the low-level composing work off the shoulders of journalists and other writers, the better, but I don’t think that AI will replace human creativity.”