Skype Falls Over, Not MS Fault

Skype fell over yesterday, primarily on Windows PCs but it despite what many people may think, it has nothing to do with the recent purchase of Skype by Microsoft.

It’s not completely clear what happened, but since the deal with MS is still waiting for approval from the regulators it’s hard to see how this could possibly be Messers Ballmer and Gate’s fault.

What seems to have happened is that a problem with the network caused the Windows PC software to crash and refuse to re connect. Skype quickly advised of a workaround that involved deleting a file – shared.xml – but the fix didn’t work for everyone.

Thursday’s wobble raises questions over the stability of skype and the wisdom of MS paying such a jaw dropping sum of money for it. Skype relies on similar peer to peer technology to file sharing services like bittorrent, this has allowed Skype to grow it’s user base  exponentially without having to buy masses of hardware. But the distributed nature of the network does leave it vulnerable to problems if large numbers of users drop out at the same time because of local internet issues, windows updates, software issues etc.

Most people use Skype for free, and if you’re getting something for free you’re probably going to put up with the odd outage, but if Microsoft want to monetise Skype or make it a core part of office or Windows Phone then they’ll need to make it a bit more rugged.

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