The Skype outage: my take

I found the Skype outage frustrating. But only in the same way as a Virgin Media outage; or a BT outage. In the hours and days after the event, the media questioned Skype’s ability to compete on a professional footing with traditional communications providers. But I think this stance is wholly unwarranted.

The outage was significant. I first noticed it on the afternoon of Wednesday 22 December. And it continued to affect services, for me at least, for over 48 hours thereafter. But I’ve suffered longer outages in the past with both of the companies mentioned above.

The problem with Skype’s outage was that it affected everyone, while BT’s outages are generally localised. So reputation-wise, it was bad for Skype.

But services come with risk. And paid services come with SLAs, some of which are backed up with tangible measures. Skype has its faults, don’t get me wrong. Its inability to work reliably with conference call providers is my biggest bugbear, the user interface being next up. But it’s a fabulous offering, and one that I truly cherish.

Its outage pissed me off, but with mobile telephony as my fallback, where’s the harm? Finally, by way of an apology, Skype has sent me a voucher worth 30 minutes of landline talk. Virgin Media would only consider a credit against my monthly subscription after 30 days’-worth of outage.

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