Starting yesterday afternoon, and continuing into today, some of Intuit’s servers went offline to the outside world.

That means that businesses using QuickBooks Online, Intuit Merchant Services, or QuickBooks Online Payroll were left twiddling their thumbs. Lots of them were not too happy. I read these tweets on Tuesday afternoon:

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“How can QuickBooks Online Edition be down all day? Very frustrating.”

“Quickbooks Online has been down for hours now. Anyone else feeling like “the cloud” is more like “the smoke”?”

“Freaking out a bit that QuickBooks is unavailable and has been all day. This is when “in the cloud” stuff scares me to death.”

* * *

This is one of the disadvantages of the cloud — it’s completely out of your hands. That’s also it’s biggest advantage (when it’s working right).

The pros and cons here apply to all cloud-based applications. There were the same mumblings and grumblings a week or so ago when a chunk of Gmail’s users lost access to their accounts because of a problem on Google’s servers.

What brings me down, though, is that this is not a rare event for Intuit customers. This happened back in January, a couple of times in 2010, and you can keep going back.

Honestly, Intuit makes great software. QuickBooks rocks. Quicken rocks. TurboTax rocks. ProSeries rocks.

But Intuit’s deliverable online IT doesn’t rock, and this is not new.

Why fight it? Why doesn’t Intuit farm out their online services IT to somebody who has a fantastic track record and can deliver 99.95% uptime? IBM, maybe? Sun?

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