Microsoft Teams has a wobble, makes working even more remote for Europe

The biggest experiment in remote working to date got underway today, and Microsoft Teams appears to have been an early casualty.

As Europe started logging on this morning, the service started wobbling, and there were reports of other Microsoft services being down, including XBox Live.

Shortly before nine UK time, the Microsoft Teams twitter account said:

We’re investigating messaging-related functionality problems within Microsoft Teams. If you are a system administrator, please refer to TM206544 in your admin center for further details.

At time of writing, things appear to have stabilised, but the incident may be a harbinger of the ups and downs we can expect as businesses and organisations switch to remote during the Covid-19 crisis.

Microsoft had thrown open access to its collaboration platform earlier this month as a response to the Covid-19 outbreak. Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365, wrote in a blog, that “By making Teams available to as many people as possible, we aim to support public health and safety by keeping teams connected while they work apart.”

Over the last week though, Europe has moved into lockdown mode, with Italy and Spain effectively shutting down completely, Germany and France closing everything from schools to borders, and Ireland shutting pubs and cancelling St Patrick’s day. Worldwide, Universities have moved online, while tech firms Atlassian and Red Hat amongst those asking staffers to work from home for the foreseeable future.

It’s fair to assume that many companies put in contingency plans last week, with a full scale switch to remote working kicking in as of today.

Which might mean loads in unexpected places – and users, including hordes of University and school students, having to get familiar with new platforms and new ways of working.