It’s interesting that so many IT pundits are eager to pounce on Skype’s recent outage. I’ve been a full-time Skype user since October of 2003. My business relies heavily on the telephone and I switched all my business operations to Skype as soon as the SkypeOut and SkypeIn services became available, 2-1/2 years ago or more, and I got rid of landline telephone service. In that time Skype has served me very well, has never missed a message, provides great convenience, especially with the call forwarding function, and has saved me an enormous amount of money.
Skype suffered a “two-day” outage recently. First of all, the outage was not two days, it was 28 hours. I know because I was on top of it the entire time. I suppose that since it was more than 24 hours, it becomes “two days”. Two days of outage in four years of flawless operation of a brand new and extremely robust technology that nobody ever tried before is pretty darn good. In 30 years of running businesses I’ve had a lot more outages of landline telephones than Skype. Furthermore, Skype has been forthcoming about the exact cause of the problem. (A bug in their network allocation algorithm that was revealed when a Microsoft “Patch Tuesday” triggered the rebooting of millions of computers) The problem is fully understood.
In an eWeek commentary, Andrew Garcia makes the point that Skype gives no special consideration to businesses. He says, “[this failure] has conclusively proved there is no separation of services when it comes to business-class versus individual accounts using the Skype service.” This is news? How is it relevant? Since when does standard telephone service differentiate between business and non-business service when it comes to restoring service after a failure? Either the lines in your area are up or they’re down, either the CO (central office) is up or down. Once that twisted-pair of wires is up on the pole, there’s no difference between business and residential. If any special consideration is given, it is given to hospitals, emergency services, and “lifeline service” (residential service to persons with medical problems).
The bottom line is that given the thousands of dollars I have saved so far by using Skype, one 28 hour failure doesn’t concern me in the least, especially since the cause is fully understood and fixable.