A problem with Live ID apparently caused Hotmail, Xbox Live, Zune Marketplace, and other users around the world to be without those services for at least an hour this evening (Seattle time).
A comment on our first story blames the outage on the fiber optic cable vandalism in San Francisco and San Carlos earlier today:
The problem is related to the cutting of AT&T fiber-optic cables in Santa Clara County Thursday. A senior Microsoft engineer in Mountain View says they are working to restore service. Don’t panic– your inbox and stored messages have not been permanently deleted.
We can’t vouch for the accuracy of the statement, which did not come from a Microsoft employee, but appears to be legitimate.
Again, multiple Twitter messages are reporting that users are able to access Hotmail again.
UPDATE: “Routine maintenance”, rather than the vandalism, was to blame for this one, according to a post on the Hotmail team blog:
Some of you experienced an unusual message when you signed into Windows Live Hotmail on Thursday evening (PST) that said “You don’t have an inbox…yet.” Rest assured that your email is safe! The incorrect message was caused by a networking issue that we encountered while doing routine maintenance. We have corrected the problem and you should be able to access your Hotmail account at this time. We apologize for any inconvenience that was caused by this issue, and we thank you for using Hotmail.
We also received confirmation in an IM conversation with a member of the Hotmail team that the “routine maintenance”, and not the vandalism, was the cause.