RealTimeWeekly | Skype is Down and How it Affects You
Twitter is filling up with reactions ranging from general discontent to downright hilarity about Skype being down. Let's take a look at what is actually going on and how it affects you.
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Skype is Down and How it Affects You (UPDATED)

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21 Sep Skype is Down and How it Affects You (UPDATED)

Real-time communications have suffered a major hit today, as Skype (Microsoft’s main solution to real-time chat, audio, and video) has been reported to have stopped working for countless users around the globe since early Monday morning.

… We’re working on a fix for this issue and hope to have an update for you soon. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused while we get this resolved.

(Check out Skype’s official statement on the Skype Heartbeat blog)

Thousands of users have flooded twitter already, filling it with reactions to the issue ranging from general discontent to downright hilarity:

But all-in-all, before we get down to answering the question of how this affects you, let’s take a look at what is actually going on.

What is wrong with Skype?!

There’s several code pieces which are generally regarded as standard when talking about communication apps, specially apps which implement Instant Messaging, and Skype is no exception to this paradigm. One of the modules which Skype has in common with most chat apps is called “Presence”.

(Demo of a Presence module in a real-time chat app by PubNub)

A real-time presence module handles status updates for users. It is basically what turns the little indicator next to your contacts’ avatar green, yellow, red, or white depending on their current status.

Skype’s Presence module is broken.

How Skype’s presence module problem affects you

This error will affect you in two ways depending on whether you had Skype on or not:

  • If you were already logged in to Skype, it has been reported you can still send and receive messages, but your taskbar icon will look like you had no internet, all contacts will appear to be offline, and calls will not work, neither audio or video.
  • If you were offline or if you log out before the presence module is fixed, you will be unable to log back in.


In case you’re in a pinch and need to use Skype right now, you might want to try the web browser version of Skype which some users have reported to have been able to use:

Or better yet, just convince your teammates and bosses to get on Slack already. Just a suggestion.

UPDATE

In regards to Slack and audio/video calls, Slack has Google Hangouts integrated into it by default. Just type /hangout on a channel and it automagically invites everyone in it! :)

UPDATE 2

Skype’s hiccup has been fixed, it has been reported that the problem affecting hundreds of thousands of users worldwide lasted around 16 hours. As per the post on their Heartbeat blog this issue had not affected their “Business users”.

We have identified the network issue which prevented users from logging in and using Skype today. We’re in the process of reconnecting our users, and focused on restoring full service. The issue did not affect Skype for Business users.


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