OT - MCI thinks no one will leave them because of outage

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01:20 PM ET 08/16/99

MCI WorldCom Offering Free Service

MCI WorldCom Offering Free Service By BRUCE MEYERSON= AP Business Writer=

NEW YORK (AP) _ MCI WorldCom, its data network back online after 10 days of intermittent outages, is offering 20 days of free service to compensate about 3,000 businesses affected by the costly disruptions. MCI WorldCom, besieged by complaints that it reacted slowly to the problem and failed to keep customers updated, took the entire network down for repairs over the weekend and said service was more than 99 percent back to normal today.

The data network, one of four operated by the company, began breaking down Aug. 5 after a software upgrade from Lucent Technologies, one of the three leading manufacturers of Internet and other networking equipment.

The new software, intended to add capacity and service features, has been removed, and no upgrade will be attempted until the source of the problem is pinpointed, said Bernard J. Ebbers, MCI WorldCom president and chief executive.

The outages disrupted ATM cash machine networks and affected organizations as prominent as the Chicago Board of Trade, whose electronic trading system was idled, as well as smaller businesses such as Internet service providers.

As various attempts to stabilize the network failed, the situation also became a public relations problem, similar to those faced recently by Internet brokers overwhelmed by huge trading volume or two years ago, when America Online couldn't handle floods of members trying a new unlimited usage plan.

The CBOT issued an angry statement last week charging that MCI WorldCom's handling of the situation has been unacceptable and suggesting the exchange may even take its business elsewhere. Smaller businesses complained that MCI WorldCom was unresponsive to their queries, leaving them in the dark for days.

``We very much apologize for the difficulties this frame relay network outage caused our customers,'' Ebbers said in a statement Sunday. ``We have resumed providing service to the customers who were impacted and will be working hard to regain their full confidence.''

Ebbers said Monday he did not believe anyone would leave MCI WorldCom because of the problem.

The refunds and compensation for lost network time will produce ``a very, very slight downtick in revenues,'' but company officials are still comfortable with current Wall Street expectations for the quarter and the year, Ebbers added.

Shares of MCI WorldCom were trading up 18} cents to $78.87{ on the New York Stock Exchange.

-- Cherri (sams@brigadoon.com), August 17, 1999


Customers have already left them, and will not be back.

-- Living in (the@real.world), August 17, 1999.

I hear Lucent have just signed up with them...

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), August 17, 1999.

Andy, once again you show your ignorance in so many ways. Lucent and MCI have alliances, my dear. Do you know about those in the corporate world, probably not.

You guys have discussed this topic in numerous (too many to count) threads and yet another aspect of it in this thread. The fact that customers can go elsewhere reflects one of the features of the economy. There are competitors in every corner waiting to take customers' dollars (including Y2K doom retail). Ebbers can wish and hope all he wants but how he wins back confidence will tell if the customers stay. You can speculate on this too, but you have no clue why corporations pick and choose their vendors. It's up to Bernie to know this.

A fact: MCI started in 1968 and had 55,000 employees by 1997. Do you think this happened because the CEO was stupid? Speculation: When Worldcom bought MCI, it became a different company. We'll see how the next thirty years turns out.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), August 17, 1999.

Good job Andy! my first chuckle of the day.

peace, Dan

-- Dan G (thepcguru@hotmail.com), August 17, 1999.

Geeez Maria,

You seem to have so many enticing pieces of information about how that company works and why. But hardly a word from you regarding the details of the bungled upgrade. Doesn't MCI fully test out new systems before throwing them into the fray? You're kind of like a "flasher" where we get a little peek at something interesting but the full monty is always kept just out of reach.

-- Gordon (gpconnolly@aol.com), August 17, 1999.

You won't get doodely-squat out of Maria. The substance of her posts is thinner than cow-pee on a flat rock. She doesn't even dance around the issues very well... See the cat? See the cradle?

P.S. Chuck, am I allowed to say cow-pee?

-- Pinkrock (aphotonboy@aol.com), August 17, 1999.

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