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Wednesday, 19 October 2016 12:31

Skype issues continue to dog Microsoft

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Microsoft's Skype issues have continued this week with the software giant announcing that the Web version of the application is experiencing login issues.

The Web version of Skype is in beta at the moment.

Connection issues also continue to bite at the heels of Linux users, with the client, still in alpha state, often unable to perform the most basic functions.

The company announced on its Skype Heartbeat page: "We have some connection issues for users on Skype for Web. Please use mobile and desktop clients as a possible workaround."

Later, there was this: "Issue is fully resolved." That, however, is not the case as the Web version continues to be erratic.

Microsoft's inability to communicate properly is also on display with its Skype Support Twitter account not having been updated since 6 October.

There have been issues with Skype on 5 September, 15 September, 21 September, 6 October and 18 October. (All dates are US time).

Recenty, iTWire editor-in-chief Stan Beer was locked out of Skype and told that he might well lose all the files he had within the application. High-level intervention had to be called in to resolve that issue.

Before Microsoft bought Skype in 2011, the application seemed to work well. It has European roots, having been developed by Sweden's Niklas Zennström and Denmark's Janus Friis, in co-operation with Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu, and Jaan Tallinn of Estonia.

The latter three built the backend that was also used in the music-sharing application Kazaa.

eBay bough Skype in September 2005 for US$2.6 billion and then four years later Silver Lake, Andreessen Horowitz and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board took a 65% stake in Skype for US$1.9 billion.

Microsoft paid US$8.5 billion for Skype. But like many of its other acquisitions — Nokia is a good example — Skype has had mixed fortunes after that, with no clear direction.

Skype has always operated on a freemium model but Skype Credit or a subscription has been required to call a landline or a mobile.

Windows expert Paul Thurrott was told in July by Microsoft vice-president Gurdip Pall, someone who was said to be the person most responsible for Skype, that the company had almost completed a transition to a new back-end architecture that would be backed by new generation clients across multiple platforms.

But the issues continue to come and at best Skype seems to be flaky in its operation.

At the moment, it would appear that Skype will end up like all Microsoft products do: sorta okay software, but mediocre at best.

It's a pity because it was once a simple well-engineered piece of software that looked like it was on its way to turn a handsome profit.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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