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Skype back in service after two-day outage

Blackout at VoIP service due to 'algorithm deficiency'

August 18, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Skype Ltd. announced late Friday that all users could now again log on to the voice-over-IP service, marking the end of an outage that affected millions and lasted more than 48 hours.

At 7:00 p.m. EDT, Villu Arak, the Skype spokesman who has been posting blackout updates, said, "The sign-on problems have been resolved. [However] Skype presence and chat may still take a few more hours to be fully operational."

According to user statistics gathered via an RSS feed provided by Skype, the number of users connected to the service climbed throughout Friday afternoon, from about 3 million at noon to more than 5.6 million shortly after 6:00 p.m. EDT, a sign that Skype was coming back to life.

Individual users, meanwhile, reported that they were able to reconnect to the service -- in some cases for the first time in almost two days -- and that their connections remained stable, even if the Skype client was often slow to respond.

Although Skype first confirmed the outage Thursday around 9 a.m. EDT, users writing on the company's own message forums began reporting problems connecting to the service as early as Wednesday afternoon. The company, a division of online auctioneer eBay Inc., has not provided details of the blackout's cause, saying only that it was due to a "deficiency in an algorithm within Skype networking software."

Speculation that the outage was caused by a distributed denial-of-service attack or by some previously planned maintenance that Skype conducted late Tuesday have been regularly quashed by the company. "No ... attack was related to the current sign-on issues in any way," Arak wrote early Friday.

Although many users said they were relieved that the VoIP and instant messaging service was again functioning, they continued to blast the Luxembourg-based company for disrupting their business and personal communications.

A user tagged as "free skypeout minutes," who claimed to work for a Swedish company already heavily reliant on Skype's for-fee services, got to the point. "All plans to incorporate Skype into more of our procedures are now on hold indefinitely," the user said.

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