Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) was hit with an outage early Tuesday morning that prevented users from accessing a host of applications and services including Xbox, Skype and Outlook. Many Microsoft customers in Western Europe and the Eastern U.S. were greeted with a message that their account wasn’t active when they tried to log on.

Users complaining at website about reached in the thousands, reported Reuters. Meanwhile the hashtag #hotmail was trending on Twitter in the U.K. Microsoft confirmed the problem, saying in an Xbox Live message it was working to resolve the issues as quickly as possible. Microsoft Account Services, which also includes Office 365, the Windows Store and a host of other apps came back up around 9:30 a.m. EST Tuesday at which time Microsoft alerted users.

Bounty for Bugs

The outage at Microsoft Account Services comes at an interesting time. Microsoft’s cloud business is booming with Microsoft reporting a 49% increase in revenue for Office 365 its second quarter, which it reported in late January. (See also: Microsoft Stock Nets 52-Week High on Earnings Beat.) 

What’s more, it just raised the bounty it will pay software developers who find bugs in the company’s Office 365, part of its online software offerings. According to Microsoft, from March 1 to May 1 it will double the maximum amount it will pay for discoveries to $30,000 from $15,000. Prior to the beginning of March, the minimum payment was $500. That goes to $1,000 until May 1. Microsoft is looking for bugs in,, and “Generally, bounties will be paid for significant web application vulnerabilities found in eligible online service domains,” Microsoft said when announcing the increased bounties.

Microsoft isn't the only major tech company to suffer an outage that brought down popular websites. Last week, Inc.'s (AMZN) S3 servers accidently took down a bunch of websites including Quora and workplace productivity tool Trello (which is used internally at Investopedia). The outage prevented access to the company's video streaming service. Amazon blamed human error for the outages, saying in a blog post that its Simple Storage Service team inadvertently executed the wrong command.  

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