- Associated Press - Friday, February 22, 2013

REDMOND, WASH. (AP) - Microsoft is dealing with a worldwide outage in an online service that stores data for a wide range of business customers.

The software maker says its Azure service went down shortly before 4 p.m. EST Friday. The breakdown prevented Azure customers from accessing files kept in Microsoft’s data centers.

Microsoft Corp. didn’t say what crippled Azure, in a Friday statement acknowledging the problem. The company, based in Redmond, Wash., says it is working to fix the problem.

Azure’s failure illuminates the pitfalls of storing important information in remote data centers. Online storage, often called “cloud computing,” is growing in appeal because it allows workers to pull up data, wherever they are, to an Internet-connected device.

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