VOICE OVER IP (VoIP) and chat service Skype has crashed throughout the world and continues to crash on login, leading many to suspect that its recent acquisition by Microsoft is a definite disaster.
The service began to crash around 12:15pm UK time, kicking people offline and freezing when they tried to log back in again. Other users who remained online had difficulties making calls. Restarting your PC or reinstalling Skype has no effect, as the problem is clearly on Skype's end.
A number of people instantly began slating Microsoft over the crash, suggesting that it was working on things behind the scenes to make the service as crash-prone as Windows itself.
One user tweeted, "#Microsoft buys Skype & there we go #Skype is down globally," another said "Never had a #Skype #crash or #bug before #Microsoft came in", and a third suggested "now we have a new feature added by #Microsoft to #Skype the feature is called #crash."
It's just over two weeks since Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5bn, much to the dismay of many of its users. While it's unlikely that Microsoft would make any deliberate changes that would cause instability in its new VoIP subsidiary, the seemingly coincidental timing of this massive outage has led to rampant speculation about what it could be up to.
Skype's web site is also having periodic trouble. We encountered a number of "our servers are down" messages and the web site failed to load web pages on multiple occasions.
With the recent spate of server attacks against companies like Sony, a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on Skype's servers is a possibility. However, we are unaware of any threats to Skype from the hacktivist group Anonymous, which is notorious for mounting such attacks.
Of course, this is not the first time that Skype has had major outages. In late December of last year there was significant downtime, but Skype promised to develop "mega-supernodes" to ensure that its service would remain online.
In response to a massive outcry on Twitter, Skype tweeted, "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."
The INQUIRER has contacted both Skype and Microsoft for an explanation of the crash and an estimate of when services will be back online. We are awaiting their responses. µ