Skype Outage Disappoints Holiday Users

Dennis Faas's picture

Technical difficulties ruined one of the busiest days of the year for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) company Skype. The video long-distance chat service experienced significant outages throughout the period December 23-25.

Skype may be the cheapest way to see and chat with friends and family from around the world using a PC or laptop. The software is free to download, and costs nothing to use if two users of the program connect over their computers. The only charges apply where someone decides to dial into someone's phone with their laptop, but even in that case rates are incredibly low.

Skype Outage a Poorly-Timed Affair

Given the affordability of the system -- as well as the ability to see distant loved ones via webcam over the holiday season -- obviously makes the outage a poorly-timed affair. Skype is blaming the problem on a software issue which reportedly took down its "supernodes," responsible for connecting voices, video and instant messages between Skype users.

The software issue left literally millions of users without service, making it impossible to connect. By Christmas Eve the service had already been out a day, with Skype scrambling to fix the problem.

"It's been a tough 24 hours for many of you -- and I'd like to thank you for your patience as we bring Skype back to normal," said Skype CEO Tony Bates in an address to his company's users. (Source:

A New Blue Screen of Death

Despite Skype's determination to resolve the issue, outages persisted until late on December 25th. Over that time, most unlucky users were greeted by a blank blue screen when trying to access their accounts. (Source:

Those affected are being offered compensation in the form of credits to their accounts. Bates took the time to deliver a special video message to users via YouTube explaining what went wrong and how the company is working to ensure the issue doesn't affect service again.

An estimated 124 million people use Skype every month. The company was sold last year by eBay Inc. for an estimated $2 billion. The new owners consist of a variety of investors including the company's founders. (Source:

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