updated 10:05 am EDT, Thu May 26, 2011
Skype goes down again but gets solution
Skype on Thursday had another outage that was significant but milder than its earlier crash. The issue prevented some, but not all, users from signing in, making calls, or both. Some also reported the app crashing on launch and wasn't specific to Linux, Mac OS X, or Windows.
In a turnaround from its previous response, the company said it had already identified the cause and provided a solution to fix the problem. In all cases, the fix involves deleting the shared.xml file stored on the system so that it would be recreated from scratch. Skype hesitated to call the file corrupt but said more details would come "soon."
In the previous failure, which lasted for two days, the failure was the result of outdated Windows versions of Skype creating problems with the peer-to-peer nature of the VoIP calling app. It triggered a supernode cascade, where the disappearance of nodes as Windows users went offline put extra strain on remaining nodes and compounded the effect. The new issue's cross-platform nature suggests a wider issue at work.
Skype's shortfall isn't connected to its recent corporate maneuvers but is an ill-timed omen for its recent acquirer Microsoft, which is counting on Skype integration across much of its hardware and software in the future.