It might be something to do with a complete inability to trust my fellow human, but I don't stick to any one provider of Web services.
I use three different browsers and three different e-mail services.
I have no adoration toward any of them, but if there's one thing that's
hard not to admit, it's that most of Google's tend to work a little better than
Which made me wonder how last week might have proved that point.
Microsoft's Outlook e-mail has sometimes -- at least for me -- been more
erratic than a Fernet-ridden fly.
Far too often, if I try to reply to a message, the system tells me it can't
complete that action just at the moment.
Sometimes, I try to send a message and the software keeps spinning without
I have to open Outlook again in a separate tab to discover that, yes,
despite what the first tab was telling me, the message had been sent, but
Outlook hadn't quite updated its outlook on that.
When Outlook (and SkyDrive and Contacts) went down last week, it was more
It started with no mobile syncing and ended with no anything at all.
After hours of this, I contacted Microsoft's Service arm via Twitter. The
apologies were expansive. The explanations weren't.
All I was told was: "Thanks for letting us know, Chris. Please keep
checking spr.ly/6013ZhDS for service status updates."
This I did. However, even when the service status update finally said that
Outlook was working normally, mine actually wasn't.
Microsoft Support suggested I keep checking the service status updates.
Franz Kafka, do you read me?
"We understand your concern. We're working to resolve this as soon as
possible. Check out spr.ly/6018ZhwM for updates," read the message.
Ultimately, the company explained that it was having caching problems.
Three days seemed a very long time to solve them.
For some time now, Microsoft has been telling me (and you) that Google is a
quite heinous little organization.
From the Scroogled campaign to an anti-Chrome campaign, I'm supposed to
think that if Google bought me a latte, it would be polluted.
Yet one thing Google can largely be trusted with it to make things that
work more often than they don't. When it suffered an outage Friday, it also
suggested people look at the service status board.
The outage lasted between 2 and 5 minutes, and no meaningful explanation
beyond "nothing to see here" was offered.
That might reflect a certain confidence (or even arrogance) on Google's
part, just as Microsoft's outage might reflect a certain confusion at its
It's tempting to whisper that these two outages show two companies headed
in opposite directions -- though, who knows, it's summer time, so perhaps
Microsoft's best engineers are sunning themselves somewhere in the Bahamas,
while interns man the fort. (Googlies don't do vacations, do they?)
But there can surely be little doubt that Google buys loyalty (if not love)
because its products just work, while Microsoft doesn't quite have the same
Sunday morning, I looked again at the status of my Microsoft accounts.
Everything seemed to be normal. Well, except: "A problem was recently
resolved, and Calendar is now running normally."
I'll keep using my three e-mail services. I might, though, spread the load
a little differently.