Amazon’s Alexa suffered outages on Christmas Day as people around the world started using their new Echos

  • Amazon’sAlexa suffered outages in Europe on Christmas Day as people who received Echos as gifts rushed to set up the virtual assistant.
  • The Alexa app is needed to operate Amazon’s Echo Dot and other smart home devices, and Amazon noted that this year brought record sales for smart home tech.
  • Connection issues lasted a few hours but were ultimately corrected by Amazon.

Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant suffered service outages in Europe on Christmas Day, likely because of a flood of new users using the Alexa app. Amazon said that 2018 brought record sales for smart home devices, and the company’s own Echo Dot smart speaker was one of the best-selling items.

Amazon’s Alexa service is required to set up the Echo Dot and other smart devices, and with so many people receiving them as gifts on Christmas morning, the Alexa app saw a surge in traffic. While the Alexa service held up in most countries, parts of Europe experienced poor connections to the app’s servers.

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Thousands in the UK reported issues with Alexa on the website Downdetector, and Amazon’s customer-service account acknowledged the outage in tweets to frustrated customers. This isn’t the first time Alexa has gone down in Europe either; the app suffered a similar outage in late September.

Amazon has faced renewed scrutiny over its virtual assistant in recent weeks. One user was accidentally sent 1,700 recordings of another person talking to Alexa, an incident Amazon blamed on “human error,” and other customers reported Alexa sharing disturbing messages stemming from the voice assistant’s “Let’s chat” feature.

Despite the disruptions and bad press, Alexa was the most popular app in the Apple App Store and Google Play store on Christmas Day, so apparently people are still willing to trust Amazon’s service.