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Being a first adopter of a technology can have its downside. Just ask anyone who believed they could rely on Skype for their business PBX long distance solution.  Yes, people have been reprogramming some open PBX solutions to use VOIP providers like Google Talk, Skype or Vonage to be their cheap inbound – outbound solution.

This was a great idea, as users were able to get a single number that rings any of their other locations, allowing freedom of movement and cheap inexpensive global calls.  That is until today for the Skype users.  Skype has had a massive fail today, and the longer it drags on, the worse it will be for the business model.

Today’s failure has blown any chance of a business class marketing solution for Skype business sales.  While some solutions like Google Talk, have had failures in their service lately, they are not charging for the service on a minute by minute basis, nor was their outages as bad or as long as Skypes has been.  Skype has had a total global failure that is slowly returning because it rely on their users as a portion of their backbone.

If I was Vonage, I would roll out a chart that shows the real world down time users of Google Talk and Skype have experienced this year.

Skype’s Comment Today

Earlier today, we noticed that the number of people online on Skype was falling, which wasn’t typical or expected, so we began to investigate.Skype isn’t a network like a conventional phone or IM network – instead, it relies on millions of individual connections between computers and phones to keep things up and running. Some of these computers are what we call ‘supernodes’ – they act a bit like phone directories for Skype. If you want to talk to someone, and your Skype app can’t find them immediately (for example, because they’re connecting from a different location or from a different device) your computer or phone will first try to find a supernode to figure out how to reach them.

Under normal circumstances, there are a large number of supernodes available. Unfortunately, today, many of them were taken offline by a problem affecting some versions of Skype. As Skype relies on being able to maintain contact with supernodes, it may appear offline for some of you.

What are we doing to help? Our engineers are creating new ‘mega-supernodes’ as fast as they can, which should gradually return things to normal. This may take a few hours, and we sincerely apologise for the disruption to your conversations. Some features, like group video calling, may take longer to return to normal.

http://blogs.skype.com/en/2010/12/skype_downtime_today.html?cm_mmc=PXTW|0700_B6-_-downtime-20101222

At this time, I am still unable to log into Skype.  This is an all day outage that is still ongoing.  A billion dollar service provider, can not afford an outage of this long due to their network not talking to themselves.  That’s the definition of FAIL.  “…Our system is not really down, you just cant see it…” is not an answer people will respect for very long.