We've got a number of tools in our armoury [Not weapons? Ed.] - Hazel Lewis - UK government minister
VOICE OVER IP (VoIP) service Skype has issued a fix for Windows machines that suffered a major outage yesterday, while a Mac update is expected some time today.
Skype apologised for the downtime and issued a manual fix for the problem fairly quickly that involved deleting the shared.xml file from Skype's directory. This solved the problem for many, but others were reluctant to tamper with their files. It looks bad on Skype's part to expect its users to do so, especially when some of them might not be as technically savvy as others. The fix did work, however, as tested by several of The INQUIRER's staff.
Skype said it understood that its workaround was "fairly technical", so it issued an update for Windows-based machines to fix the login issue, available here. A Mac update should arrive today, but Skype users running Linux must continue to use the manual fix for now.
Skype for mobiles, tablets and smart TVs was not affected by the bug.
Skype claims the problem affected only "a small percentage of users", but reports from users on Twitter and other channels suggested that it was fairly widespread. Many of The INQUIRER's staff also suffered the problem, though that was not universal.
The INQUIRER asked Microsoft about the problem, since so many people blamed its recent acquisition of Skype for the outage. A Microsoft spokesperson said, "While the regulatory review process is under way, Microsoft and Skype continue to operate independently so you'll need to check in with Skype on the situation."
While it's true that Microsoft remains an independent party for now, that doesn't stop it from receiving a lot of negative attention from users who were unhappy to find out it is buying Skype in the first place.
We also contacted Skype, but it refused to explain the nature of the problem and simply directed us to its blog post containing the manual workaround instructions. µ
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