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Microsoft: Large 'Configuration Change' Caused Skype Outage

Microsoft on Wednesday issued a brief explanation for the lengthy outage that affected its consumer Skype product on Sept. 21.

The outage lasted over 12 hours, perhaps tapering down after about 15.5 hours. However, some people were still reporting problems on Wednesday, per comments at the Downdetector.com tracking site.

Microsoft clocked the end of its Skype outage at 23:53 GMT or 3:53 p.m. Pacific Time (6:53 p.m. Eastern Time). The problem started in the early morning on Sept. 21 at around 1:23 a.m. Pacific Time (4:23 a.m. Eastern Time), when many people reported log-in problems.

The Skype outage occurred because of a "back-end" configuration change made by Microsoft. The company's apology described it as a "larger-than-usual configuration change, which some versions of Skype were unable to process correctly therefore disconnecting users from the network."

Users trying to reconnect after the configuration change caused "heavy traffic" and they were unable to use Skype's free "messaging, presence and contact" services. In addition, some users couldn't log in to Skype.

While Microsoft apologized for the outage, its consumer Skype service comes with no service-level agreement guarantees. Consumer Skype users have to accept "occasional disruptions," even if they are paying for the services. Consumer Skype services include voice-over-IP telephony, video and instant messaging capabilities, some of which are available for free.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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