Technology with attitude

Skype Experiences Damaging Outages and Glitches

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Microsoft’s Skype video calling and voice services were down for almost 15 hours from the 21st of September for many users across the world.

Microsoft confirmed the outage on its heartbeat website, a website dedicated to the working of Skype and related products. Microsoft confirmed that the users were experiencing various technical issues, including problems with logging in, changing their statuses, logging in, managing contact lists and updating pages on forums. According to the technology giant, they were working hard to fix the technical problems and apologized for the inconveniences it had caused its users. Similar statements also appeared on Skype’s Twitter and Facebook feeds, as well as the support feed of Skype on Twitter.

Complaints about Skype had flooded the social media, on Twitter and Facebook from various locations. Judging from the complaints, the outages went as far as the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Ukraine. Down Detector, the website that monitors the working of consumer technology services mapped the outages, indicating it mainly concentrated in Europe and Japan.

Microsoft, on the other hand, attributed the outage to a configuration change. The configuration change release was larger than usual, meaning some versions were unable to process it correctly, a fact that led to the disconnection of users from the network. When they tried to reconnect, they created heavy traffic which then resulted in many being unable to use the free services offered by Skype. The statement concluded with an apology, even as Office 2016 customers continue to experience delays with sync capabilities in OneDrive for business.

While some might be satisfied with how the matter was handled, a large section of the tech world is less than impressed. Many consumers now think that such outages hurt the image of Microsoft, especially in this era of reliance on mobile and cloud services. Many are of the idea that there should have been backups in place to prevent such an outage happening, especially considering the explanation given for the outage.

The world today lives on the mobile first, cloud first mantra. While these are not exactly new technologies, the tendency of people to rely on them depends on the track record of such service providers as Microsoft. In the minds of many, the statement given by Microsoft is an admission of the volatility and unreliability of Skype. This clearly does not instill faith in the consumer. However, a more alarming aspect of the outage is the fact that only the free services were affected. The company seems to be sending the message that paying customers are clearly more important.

The Skye for business problems put a greater perspective on the significance of the problem for the cloud industry. The failing of Skype has given pause to many people looking to go into business with Microsoft and especially Skype for business. The official word was that the outage only affected a few users and only a few of the free services were affected. However, such outages, especially from established service providers like Microsoft, give businesses and IT experts some food for thought.