Internal technical problems at Microsoft caused eight hours worth of connection problems for their MSN messenger and Hotmail customers on Friday. US and Canadian customers were mainly affected.

"The outage was pretty significant in terms of the number of customers it affected, but by now the services should be up and running for everybody," a Microsoft spokesperson said.

Details of the internal problem were not released but the spokesperson said that it was not connected to the MSN messenger patch which was released earlier this week.