SEATTLE – Amazon warehouses across the country shut down Tuesday as failures in the company’s cloud computing system crippled the technology that powers the company’s logistics operations.

The disruption came during the main holiday season, and Amazon was already taking care of it more complicated and expensive logistics during a labor shortage. Usually, Amazon’s share of online sales is practically growing closer to Christmas every day.

Amazon Web Services began reporting increased “error rates” in its cloud operations on Tuesday morning. Amazon uses its own cloud services as the backbone of its operations, and employees across the country reported that the scanners and other systems they used to process products were no longer working.

“The AWS team is working to resolve the problem as soon as possible,” Richard Rocha, an Amazon spokesman, said in a statement. Some problems persisted through Tuesday evening.

Workers shared hundreds of status updates on Facebook and other online forums. Some said the managers sent them off for lunch an hour early in hopes that the issues would be resolved when they returned. Others said their supervisors asked them to sweep floors or offered unpaid time off to people who wanted to leave early. Many said they were just waiting around.

“Some people play cornhole after the clock and some chill in the break room,” wrote a Midwestern employee on Facebook.

Companies that rely on Amazon’s cloud computing have also experienced disruptions. Customers have reported problems with Roomba vacuums, Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa, and Disney’s streaming service. Ticketmaster called it delayed the advance sale of tickets for Adele’s tour.

At around 6:00 pm, Amazon’s cloud computing department said, “Many services have already recovered, but we are working on a full recovery of all services.”





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