Skype blames its outage on Microsoft Windows

Microsoft is blamed for Skype's outage because its security problems are fixed on a global scale. If Windows only didn't need to be fixed regularly....

When I first read the headline, I was shocked. I thought, "Wow! Skype runs on Windows servers???"

But no. Skype blamed its outage over the weekend on a different kind of Windows problem. It turns out that when you have millions of Windows machines restarting at the same time (getting their weekly doses of patches because, um, the system is rock-solid), it can cause all sorts of problems for others.

Like Skype. As reports The Register:

The latest security update from Microsoft required a system reboot. The effect of so many machines rebooting and subsequently trying to log onto the Skype VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) network triggered system instability and a prolonged outage of almost two days, starting on Thursday. Services have now being restored.

The necessity for system reboots after Microsoft patches happens almost every month. Skype said the problems it experienced were down to a failure in its system recovery functions due to a previously unidentified software bug.

I don't know about you, but if I'm a malicious hacker, I'm viewing all sorts of opportunities to slip into Microsoft's mainstream monthly patch-a-thon. If a common patch process applied across millions of machines simultaneously can cause so many problems, surely there's a way to capitalize on this. Skype's travails only make this opportunity more pronounced.

I'm liking my Mac even more right now. I just wish my Mac-based usage of Skype didn't have to be screwed up by so many lemmings patching their Windows machines. All together. At the same time. Every month. Like clockwork.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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