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Amazon apologizes for Web-hosting outage

Amazon apologized Friday for an outage of its Web-hosting service that knocked a number of companies offline, including such popular websites as Foursquare, Quora and Reddit.

The Seattle, Washington-based Amazon also acknowledged that some customers had lost data as a result of the technical problems that began on April 21, and said it would offer a 10-day credit to customers whose websites were affected.

Amazon is best known as an online retailer but the company is also a major provider of cloud-computing services, renting out space on its powerful servers to customers around the world.

In its nearly 6,000-word statement of Friday, its first detailed public explanation of the outage, Amazon said: "We want to apologize."

"We know how critical our services are to our customers' businesses and we will do everything we can to learn from this event and use it to drive improvement across our services," it added.

The company promised to be more forthcoming in the future.

"In addition to the technical insights and improvements that will result from this event, we also identified improvements that need to be made in our customer communications," it continued.

"We would like our communications to be more frequent and contain more information," the company said.

Global technology companies are investing billions of dollars in cloud computing, which involves hosting information on the Web and providing it to customers on demand.

Amazon said "several root causes interacting with one another" were behind the outage but the primary one was a botched attempt to shift traffic while upgrading capacity on a network.

"The traffic shift was executed incorrectly," Amazon said.

"The trigger for this event was a network configuration change... We will audit our change process and increase the automation to prevent this mistake from happening in the future."

Amazon's hosting services were last in the news late last year after the company booted WikiLeaks off its servers, saying the website that leaked tens of thousands of US military documents and diplomatic cables had violated its terms of service.