Apple's iTunes and App stores couldn't process purchases or download items to users worldwide for more than six hours on Wednesday.
The iTunes, App and Mac App stores were unavailable for all users, according to a message on the company's system-status Web page at 11:35 a.m. New York time. Service for the iBooks Store also was interrupted.
A timeline on the page said the outage had been under way since before 5 a.m. Access issues for users of iCloud Mail and other cloud services lasted about four hours and had been resolved, according to the timeline.
"I can't recall an outage this long before," said Daniel Ernst, an analyst at Hudson Square Research. "I think that we'll see more and more of this across the industry as we become more dependent on the cloud, but I don't think it's going to have a material impact."
Apple didn't return calls and e-mails seeking comment.
"If it's a data-center breach, it could be meaningful, but it's very hard to say what the impact will be without knowing what the cause is," said Stuart Jeffrey, an analyst at Nomura Securities International.
Users in countries including the U.S., Switzerland, Hong Kong and the U.K. reported getting error messages or having difficulty when trying to install or update apps or log in to their accounts.
"The iTunes Store is temporarily unable to process purchases," an Apple message said. "You may continue to browse the store, but please try your purchase again later."
Users in several countries posted on Apple's online support bulletin board getting the message "STATUS_CODE_ERROR" on the App Store's login window. On Twitter, people aired grievances using the hash tags #appstoredown and #itunesdown.
It was possible to make a purchase, however, from the Apple Store website.
The Apple Store was closed briefly Monday as the company unveiled details of its smartwatch and a new Macbook at an event in San Francisco. The Apple Watch will be priced from $350 to more than $10,000 and go on sale April 24.
~ Bloomberg News ~