Microsoft was hit with a massive outage on Tuesday (7 March) that left thousands of users across Western Europe and Eastern United States frustrated and unable to access the firm's services. Specifically, Microsoft Outlook, its Office 365 online software, Xbox Live services as well as Skype were impacted by the outage, which reportedly lasted several hours.

The outage is said to have begun at around 11am GMT, which left many Outlook, Skype and Xbox users unable to access their accounts.

"We're investigating an issue in which some users may be unable to access or use services or feature," a notice on the Office 365 site said. Later, as the service returned, it said, "Everything is up and running."

According to DownDetector, which provides real-time information about such outages, it received over 3,600 reports about the outage. Around 2pm GMT Xbox Live's status website reported that access to services remained limited. Meanwhile, Skype's status site said that issues regarding users unable to log in to accounts had been completely resolved, Reuters reported.

Thousands of Microsoft Outlook uses took to Twitter to air their grievances about the outage. In the UK, the hashtag #hotmail began trending early on Tuesday afternoon, as users complained of being unable to access services.

However, around 4pm GMT, services were reportedly largely restored as user complaints went down. Microsoft is yet to disclose what caused the outage and the breadth of its impact on users.