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Steve Ballmer isn't above lying to my mother.

Early Tuesday morning, California time, word arrived from Reg readers on both sides of the Atlantic that Hotmail and other Windows Live/MSN services, including Windows Live Messenger, were on the fritz. And within a few hours, it was clear that the outage hit users across the globe, from New Zealand to Puerto Rico.

That afternoon, Microsoft acknowledged that the problem was "worldwide" - but it also said the problem was no longer a problem. "Earlier today, an issue began that has caused some consumers worldwide to experience difficulty logging in to their Windows Live ID accounts," said Samantha McManus, a Windows Live product manager. "This issue has since been resolved and normal operations have been restored to all customers."

But just minutes later, I received word from my mother via this web site. "It is 7:30 pm in Raleigh, North Carolina," she said. "I still cannot connect with my Hotmail. The problem has not been resolved - no matter what Microsoft says."

And nearly two days later, The Reg continues to receive complaints that the problem has not been solved. "And again!" wrote an angry Brit early this morning. "8.42 in London and it looks like I will have to do some work...both hotmail.co.uk and hotmail.com refusing to answer...Boo Hoo."

Microsoft has yet to send us an explanation, but it did toss a new statement at The Times.

"We are aware that some customers may be experiencing difficulty accessing their Windows Live accounts," it said. "We’re actively investigating the cause and are working to take the appropriate steps to remedy the situation as rapidly as possible."

Many Reg readers have said they may abandon Hotmail for Google's Gmail. Apparently, an email account that goes on the fritz for more than 48 hours is harder to stomach than an account that's shamelessly indexed by the world's largest search engine. ®

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