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Update: Skype goes dark, may be offline until Friday

'Software issue' gets the blame for outage that started Wednesday night

August 16, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Skype Ltd., a division of online auctioneer eBay Inc., today blamed a glitch in its networking software for an outage that has already left the voice-over-IP service dark for over 24 hours.

"Some of you may be having problems logging into Skype," read the first message posted on the company's site. "Our engineering team has determined that it's a software issue. We expect this to be resolved within 12 to 24 hours." That message was posted at 9 a.m. Eastern time Thursday.

Around 5 p.m., Skype provided an update dismissing rumors that the peer-to-peer VoIP service had been victimized by an attack or had crashed because of recent updates to Microsoft Windows. "This problem occurred because of a deficiency in an algorithm within Skype networking software," said the company. "This controls the interaction between the user's own Skype client and the rest of the Skype network. Everyone at Skype is working around the clock to resume normal service as quickly as possible."

As of 8:30 p.m. ET, however, a Computerworld reporter was able to log on and connect with other Skype users in Europe and the U.S. A Computerworld contributor checking from the Middle East at approximately the same time had a connection momentarily, but it dropped.

Skype has not given any additional details of the outage, including when it began or how many of the estimated 220 accounts were unable to log on. Users writing on the company's own message forums began reporting problems connecting to the service as early as yesterday afternoon, with reports coming from the U.S., South America and Europe.

Nor has the company explained what, if any, part the planned maintenance that wrapped up late Tuesday and early Wednesday may have had in the blackout. The system's paid Web services, which include voice mail and outbound calling to any phone, were offline for about 10 minutes during that maintenance.

Skype rarely goes dark. The last reported outage, in fact, was in October 2005 and lasted several hours.

Earlier, the company had recommended that users leave their client software active. "As soon as the issue is resolved, you will be logged in. We apologize for the inconvenience," Skype said.

Read more about Networking in Computerworld's Networking Topic Center.



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