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Netflix: We're Not 'Pointing Fingers'

The problem that knocked Netflix’s website and Internet video streaming service offline Tuesday for 2.5 hours “was an unanticipated and rare technical issue that we fixed,” Netflix VP of corporate communications Steve Swasey said (see Netflix Restores Service After Outage).

“The folks who fixed it are some of the brightest and most innovative computer scientists and engineers on the Internet — team Netflix,” Swasey added.

Well, as smart and capable as they might be, Team Netflix still was unable to prevent the outage in the first place, which occurred during East Coast primetime hours, between about 8 and 10:30 P.M.

I asked Swasey if the issue was related to Netflix’s own software or due to an issue with a third-party provider, such as Amazon.com. Netflix uses the Amazon Web Services “cloud computing” platform to power its member website at Netflix.com as well as the software supporting many Netflix-ready devices, including the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Apple TV, iPhone and iPad.

He declined to discuss details, saying that “we’re not naming names or pointing fingers.”

Netflix in the past has provided a credit to customers following outages, Swasey noted, but he didn’t know at this point what sort of offer the company might extend as a result of Tuesday’s interruption.

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Programming Note: Tune in this Thursday at 2 PM ET for Multichannel News‘ free webcast, “Power to the People: Using Self-Service Tools to Put Subscribers in Control,” with Motorola Mobility’s Richard Baker and Parks Associates’ Kurt Scherf.

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