Skype Services Crash Around The World

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Skype users around the world are currently unable to log on and make calls using the VoIP service

Voice-over-IP service Skype has suffered some major down-time, with users around the world unable to sign on and make calls since around 12:15pm UK time.

While some users are unable to access the service at all, others can log on but are unable to make calls or communicate by instant message. The issues are believed to affect Windows, Mac and Linux users.

Skype acknowledged the problem with a tweet at around 1.30pm, which stated: “Some of you may have problems signing in to Skype and making calls. We’re investigating and hope to have more details to share soon.”

Rolling out a fix

Just before 2pm Skype tweeted that it had identified the problem and that it was working on a fix. The company has now posted detailed instructions for repairing the problem manually on its Heartbeat blog. This involves deleting a shared .xml file.

Although Skype has so far offered no explanation for the crash, it seems the problem could be related to a server outage. The company’s website is also off and on, with a message that reads:

“Looks like our server is down. This usually means that we’re doing maintenance work or there are too many visitors at skype.com and we cannot cope with the popularity. In any case – we’re already fixing it and everything should be back to normal in a few minutes.”

The crash has prompted a storm of updates on Twitter, with many users directing their anger at Skype’s new owner Microsoft. The $8.5 billion (£5bn) acquisition was announced earlier this month, following rumours that Google and Facebook were also interested in buying the company. There is some speculation that the crash has been caused by work to integrate the two companies’ systems.

“Skype not working, or as they refer to it: the Microsoft effect,” tweeted one frustrated user.

Not the first time

The anger is perhaps misdirected, given that Skype suffered a major outage just before Christmas – long before Microsoft had any involvement in the company. That 30-hour outage was caused by a failure of Skype’s “supernodes” (clusters of computer servers linked by peer-to-peer networking software).

The outage prevented millions of Skype users from making contact with their loved ones over the Christmas break.

Following the incident, the company’s CEO Tony Bates, offered refunds to those unable to make calls during the shut down, and promised to send pay-as-you-go and pre-pay users a Skype credit voucher via email. It remains to be seen whether similar compensation will be offered this time around.

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