It’s always disruptive when a popular web service suffers an outage — and even the most prominent services can fall afoul of a technical hiccup. Amid reports from users, Microsoft has confirmed via the Heartbeat blog that Skype users are currently unable to start calls due to an ongoing issue.
The problem forces all the people on a user’s contact list to appear offline, making it impossible to call them. However, instant messages seem to be largely unaffected by the issue, with the exception of group messages which are reportedly going undelivered in some cases.
Skype was first released in 2003, and was purchased by Microsoft for a whopping $8.5 billion in May 2011. Since then, the company has gone to great lengths to integrate it into its broader ecosystem, particularly with the launch of Windows 10.
However, an outage like this — however long it lasts for — is bound to diminish Skype’s credibility. A communications service needs to be reliable above all else, and people are going to be less likely to use Skype in lieu of a traditional telephone service if they can’t be sure that it will be readily available for use no matter what.
Of course, that’s not to say that Skype doesn’t have its own major advantages. An emphasis on video calling, cost-effective rates and availability across a host of devices are all major factors in its success. Last year, it was stated in a Wall Street Journal report that Skype traffic equalled 40% of the entire international telephone market.
That’s a lot of calls being made by a lot of users — who’ll be frustrated should this outage last for any major length of time. One of the biggest perils of a hugely successful service is the fact that customers will inevitably hold it to a very high standard. Hopefully, Skype will be up and running before any backlash can begin in earnest.