back to article Bing dies (briefly) after Microsoft hits wrong button

Bing was hit by a widespread outage Thursday evening after Microsoft accidentally updated the live site with changes intended for a test environment. While the search site was offline for only a half hour, it embarrassingly was ankled the same day Microsoft was parading about new Bing features and updates to woo market share …


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  1. Bah Humbug

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    You mean someone is actually using it enough to notice it going down?

  2. Anonymous Coward

    microsoft isn't alone

    google has had outages too. gmail has a history of being offline for hours at a time, multiple times per year, and it's not beta anymore.

    this "cloud computing" thing has a severe single-point-of-failure problem. that the biggest players in the business are having problems does not portend well for smaller companies that want to hop on the bandwagon.

    1. raving angry loony

      loud crowds cloud

      Yep, and El Reg bit that hand when they strayed too close as well. As they should, damnit.

      As for "the cloud", until it is possible for my clients to have TRUE multi-point internet access where I am (we don't, we have 2 providers, and they share the same trunk downline), I'm telling them to stay away from the single-point-of-failure solution.

    2. Nick Stallman
      Thumb Down

      Not quite

      Gmail yes, but Google Search? I cant remember a single incident when there was a widespread outage of Google Search.

  3. mittfh
    Gates Horns


    OK, the same mistake could happen to anyone, but the fact it's Microsoft just makes it several orders of magnitude funnier :)

    Bing may be the third most popular search engine around, but I can imagine it won't take many years for it to succomb to the same problem that affects most Microsoft products - bloat. And it wouldn't surprise me if at some point in time they roll out a version of Bing that makes heavy use of Silverlight. All the time increasing the eye candy while not concentrating too hard on the algorithms behind the information gathering, collating, categorising and indexing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      this isn't a title, it's a lie

      "OK, the same mistake could happen to anyone, but the fact it's Microsoft just makes it several orders of magnitude funnier :)"

      I quite like that they've been open about it and admitted a mistake rather than just blame it on a hardware failure. It doesn't seem like "the Microsoft way".

      Black helicopters, 'cos they're clearly up to something.

      1. Nick Stallman

        Limited options for blame

        No they couldnt blame hardware - They are trying to sell their hardware for cloud computing. :)

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Did you say something?

      It IS looking good though!

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Did you say something? 00:54

        Well I thought I'd take a look at the map example.

        Really? With first a warning to use a "supported browser," then the map draws (but decides Scotland isn't in Britain.) Then this "Welcome to Bing Maps Beta Sorry, but Microsoft Silverlight doesn’t work with this web browser." Followed by a classic Microsoft catch-22 your options are cancel, cancel, cancel or install silverlight, ie windows.

        Oh well, I tried,

        1. Dominik Stansby
          Thumb Down

          @Did you say something?

          Not round here it isn't -

          Opera 10.2: would not load

          IE 8: crashed

          FF 3.5: very slow

      2. Joseph Haig

        Re Did you say something?

        Maybe Bing Maps looks good, but I wouldn't know:

        "Sorry, but Microsoft Silverlight doesn’t work with this web browser."

  4. Leo Maxwell

    this is the reason that the cloud will fail

    The more that you put in the hands of others, the more the chance that you will lose everything.

    One small mistake can bring everything down.

  5. kissingthecarpet
    Thumb Up

    Ho, Ho, Ho

    That is all

  6. Dest

    Why should Bing be any different?

    Everything else made by Microsoft is unreliable so why should Bing be any different?

    Yes, it does happen to Google and everyone else but at least they will admit when they make a mistake.

    Microsoft on the other hand either tries to cover it up or plays it off like it's no big deal.

    Ok, well it may not be a big deal now but when they try to convince people and companies to trust them with handling their data an files then it becomes a big deal and for a company with a horrible reputation like Microsoft has, a company that can't seem to get anything right, I think it's going to be a tough sell.

    It's just my opinion.

  7. Trev 2

    They running everything on 1 server?

    This rather suggests they're running a very small group of computers for them all to go down at the same time. If thats the case I guess it means they don't have plans for Bing to exactly takeover from Google anytime soon.

    As for looking into what they can do to stop this - erm, make sure the dev's can't press a button and make the code go live? You know, permissions....even if it is Windows.

    1. Skip Raider

      There are some problems with your post.

      <blockquote>You know, permissions....even if it is Windows.</blockquote>

      Yeah, but, they had to have permissions to C:\My Documents\My Development Site, and we couldn't work out how to do that without also giving them permissions to all of C:\My Documents.

      In light of this technical hitch we got Dave from accounts to create a new folder called C:\New Folder, but so far nobody can get into it, apart from Dave, but he's on holiday now until next week.

    2. Pandy06269
      IT Angle


      "This rather suggests they're running a very small group of computers for them all to go down at the same time"

      There's this great thing called asynchronous processing, you know. If it takes 2 seconds to push out an update to a server's config file, and you have 1,000 servers, you could kick off 20 threads to update all servers in a couple of minutes.

  8. Big-nosed Pengie
    Paris Hilton

    Did anyone notice?

    Paris - we'd notice if she went away.

    1. Chris Bradshaw
      Paris Hilton

      @ Pengie

      I believe the correct term is 'went down'

      And I absolutely agree, we'd all notice..

  9. Anonymous Coward

    @Bah Humbug

    The only reason people notice is that microsoft puts it as default in IE, and in some of the most recent versions, makes change to google almost impossible (really, I just bought an Acer aspire one preconfigured so horribly that google was not possible to add to IE 8; I switched to ArchLinux 4.2 minutes afterwards).

    1. Anonymous Coward

      IE8 difficult, so Linux??

      That sounds like new levels of nonsense. IE8's first run ASKS you who you'd like to be your search provider. And even if it was pre-configured, how on earth do you fail to get the provider changed?

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        IE8 and google

        MS have cunningly ensured that google is always on the 2nd page of the "select a search provider" and considering that most users just press "next", "next", "next", "next"... until the annoying prompts go away and let them get on with downloading porn. They've also rigged it so that google is worse reviewed than the others, even some of the utterly inane and unused search engines.

        Conspiracy? where?

    2. Robin

      Two hundred and fifty two seconds

      "I switched to ArchLinux 4.2 minutes afterwards"

      Good to see somebody else cares for precise time-keeping as much as I do.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    I know it sounds weird. I know it can be changed. I did it many times.

    However, on that configuration, when you searched for other providers, google did not appear on the first two pages.

    That was enough.

  11. da_fish27

    @AC once more

    Btw, maybe I was unclear. Changing the search provider worked fine, it's only that google was not on the list (or was too far, I really won't look through more than 1-2 pages to find the world's most used search engine just because Microsoft is retarded).

  12. Martin 6 Silver badge

    >They running everything on 1 server?

    Well have you ever tried clustering MS-Acces?

    When they get a second user they might have to look at a new database.

  13. Anonymous Coward


    Is that what happened with Vista?

  14. iamapizza

    I know they're copying....

    I know they want to copy everything Google does, but copying Google's constant live-server-screwups is just ridiculous!

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Admitting it does not excuse basic incompetency

    This type of thing happens to people who have badly configured test environments and poor change control. It's completely indefensible. The only thing that astounds me more than this incompetency at the most basic level is that people are trying to excuse them, on the basis that "at least they admitted it".

    Releasing test code into production is a dismissal offence where I work and damned right too.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    @@Bah Humbug - Friday 4th December 2009 22:44 GMT

    "makes change to google almost impossible"


  17. Keith Oldham

    Re: IE8 difficult, so Linux??

    The nonsense was having anything to do with MS in the first place !

  18. Cantankerous Old Buzzard

    Wishful thinking


  19. Steven Raith

    You fools, it's not a cloud problem...

    ...It's a testing problem. Testers should *never* have access rights to the production site, it's that simple.

    It's got fuck all to do with the cloud. This could have been running any any kind of infrastructure, and the same problem would have occured.

    Steven R

    [Fail, because you all do]

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Bing goes bing, eh?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Chairs will fly...

    I am sure chairs are flying in Redmond as we speak over this issue.

    I can see the ad-spinners at work now:

    "Bing -- built as solid and reliable as an Xbox 360" (and perhaps, being hosted on a server-farm of these devices to boost their rank in sales of game consoles).

    IMHO, Microsoft certainly deserves to be crushed by the Googlenaut. They can throw all the money and advertising dollars they have at trying to beat every other company in the world, without realizing that the central problem is THEM; their archaic and bureaucratic management style, the fact that they are invariably late to the table because they are too big and bloated to react to actual consumer needs.

  22. IT specialist

    Don't trust your data with Microsoft

    Remember the October 2009 Microsoft data loss, where Microsoft erased the personal data of about 1 million Sidekick phone users in the United States. Emails, contacts, calendars, photos, erased.

    Microsoft managed to recover a bit, but not all the data. I'm surprised the media hasn't followed up on that story. Microsoft has a long history of outages and data loss. I would not trust the Borg with any data.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    re: cloud will fail

    I love it when cloud operators have a tiny brief period of downtime, which will no doubt be reduced to nothing in the future, commentards here believe that's the death of cloud. As if all their vulnerable stacks of raid servers all placed in one place ready to burn have 100% uptime and perfect security!

    The cloud is coming. The national grid used to fail occasionally, but we're not all using our own diesel generators in 2009, and for reliability I know which I'd prefer now a days!! The main reason we use the grid? Cost! I guess this is meaningless to some people!

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Server go...

    ...BiNg !!

  25. Geo
    Paris Hilton

    how many users?

    Is anyone here actually using Bing? Google works perfectly for me.. why should I change?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If a bing falls in the woods..

    ..and there's no-one watching, does it really fall?

  27. adam payne


    I can't help but not be amused by Microsoft shooting themselves in the foot.

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