Three good reasons to consider LotusLive over the Microsoft alternative?

Microsoft BPOS suffers significant outages – August 23rd, September 3rd and September 7th…

Microsoft (MSFT) apologized to customers of its hosted software services for businesses after at least three outages over the past few weeks.

“We aspire to deliver quality services, and in the last couple of weeks, we have fallen short of this aspiration,” wrote Morgan Cole, who said he is responsible at Microsoft for making sure that Business Productivity Online Suite customers have a good experience. “I wanted to write here to apologize to you, our customers, for any inconvenience these issues may have caused.” His blog post appeared at 10:30 p.m. U.S. Pacific Time on Wednesday.

He referred to three recent issues that customers may have had accessing the BPOS services, which include hosted e-mail, SharePoint and web conferencing. On Aug. 23, upgrades to network infrastructure caused “unforeseen problems that affected access to some services,” he wrote. For about two hours, customers served from Microsoft’s North America facilities may have had trouble accessing the services.

While engineers addressed that issue, their efforts didn’t resolve another underlying issue that created additional problems on Sept. 3rd and Sept. 7th, he said. On those days, customers may have had trouble signing in and using the administrative portals. There was more “widespread customer impact” on Tuesday, however, although for a relatively short period, he said.

“We appreciate the serious responsibility we have as a service provider to you, and we know that any issue with the service is a disruption to your business — and that’s not acceptable,” he wrote.

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Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!