Attempts to access the site were met with a http://1.1 message on an otherwise white and unadorned screen. The site appeared to be operating normally again about 12:45 p.m. Pacific.
Several customers noted the outage on Facebook and Twitter. At 12:24 p.m. Pacific, The San Francisco technology reporting site, GigaOm, noted: "Amazon is down; Yes, you read that right." Security blogger George V. Hulme noted about 12:30 p.m. on Facebook: "Http/1.1 Service Unavailable."
[ Amazon has been hiccuping lately. Read Amazon's Dec. 24th Outage: A Closer Look. ]
"The gateway page of Amazon.com was offline to some customers for approximately 49 minutes. Other pages of the site were accessible and AWS was not impacted," said an Amazon spokesman in an email message late Thursday. The "gateway" page is a reference to the Amazon.com home page.
Amazon Web Services appeared to be up and running during that time. The AWS home page appeared on cue and key services, such as the Heroku cloud running on AWS, were still up during the period Amazon.com was inaccessible.
Editor's note: Updated to add Amazon response received late Thursday.