It’s always easier to blame someone else, especially someone like Microsoft. This is exactly what Skype is doing, at least so it seems, explaining to their users that the massive outage that occurred last week was “triggered by a massive restart of our users’ computers across the globe within a very short time-frame as they re-booted after receiving a routine set of patches through Windows Update.”
Now, if Windows Updates are really to blame, why hasn’t this outage occurred before? This was certainly not the first time that massive amounts of people had their computers restarted because of the updates – Microsoft releases patches on the second Tuesday of every month. Also interesting is that Windows Update by default will restart your computer automatically at 3AM local time. This means that computers around the World were restarted at different times unless users manually changed the setting.
Skype went on to say that “The high number of restarts affected Skype’s network resources. This caused a flood of log-in requests, which, combined with the lack of peer-to-peer network resources, prompted a chain reaction that had a critical impact. The issues have now been identified explicitly within Skype.
Hopefully everybody learned a few lessons in this situation. One of the first lessons Skype needs to learn is communication. They never bothered to email all of their users to let them know what was going on. While they updated their blog, they could have made communicating with their users a top priority. People like to be clued-in on what’s going on.
And for the outraged users who felt completely lost without their primary method of communication, perhaps they need to realize that interruptions can happen. While there are some users who do pay for a SkypeIn number and pre-paid Skype calls out (they should get compensated for the time they were without the service), most are using Skype’s service for free. And because it’s free, I don’t think people can really complain too much when something does go wrong, assuming a service maintains good communication and explains when there is a problem.
I guess the third lesson is – when all else fails, blame Microsoft?