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Skype outage cuts off millions
VoIP player Skype suffered a global outage in its free service on Wednesday, leaving tens of millions of users unable to access the service for several hours.
 
The outage came to light as Skype users in Asia, Europe and the US began posting complaints that the free service was down. At least 20 million users were cut off from the service, according to ReadWriteWeb.
 
Skype – which is partly owned by web retailer eBay – announced on its blog several hours later (at 3:30pm EST) that the problem had been fixed, but it would take “several hours” for all users to have the service restored, with some features like group video calls taking longer.
 
Skype spokesman Peter Parkes said in a blog post that the problem stemmed from many “supernodes” in the Skype network – computers that serve as phone directories to help Skype users find each other – going offline due to “a problem affecting some versions of Skype”.
 
“As Skype relies on being able to maintain contact with supernodes, it may appear offline for some of you,” Parkes said.
 
Skype has not yet revealed the nature of the “problem” that knocked the supernodes offline, but said its engineers were creating new “mega-supernodes” to “gradually return things to normal.”

The outage – the first major Skype outage since August 2007, when service was lost for 48 hours during a routine software upgrade – highlights the challenges Skype faces as it looks to evolve from a free VoIP/IM/video call service to a major, reliable service provider.
 
Tech blogger Om Malik said the outage could hurt Skype’s ambitions to target larger businesses.
 
“If I am a big business, I would be extremely cautious about adopting Skype for business, especially in the light of this current outage,” Malik wrote on GigaOM.
 

Skype’s latest stats report 124 million users as of July 2010, with users placing 95 billion calling minutes over Skype in the first half of the year, around 40% of which were video. Telegeography estimates that Skype accounted for 12% of IDD calls in 2009.

Source: telecomasia


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