Skype Technologies who recently moved to offering small business in Australia access to their services for a fee is set to offer refunds to paying customers who haven’t been able to use its service after it crashed globallyonly days before Xmas one of it’s busiest periods.
Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom is currently sailing in the Sydney to Hobart Yatcht race which left Sydney yesterday.
About 20 million users, representing 90 percent of the traffic the company would normally expect, are now able to make calls after users including thousands in Australia were unable to use the service prior to Xmas which is traditionally a busy period for the IP voice and Video provider.
Year-end holidays are Skype’s heaviest traffic period, Bates said in an interview this week. The disruption adds to challenges facing Skype as it tries to persuade companies to pay for calling and establish premium services, such as group video conversations, in the run-up to an initial public offering.
“We now know what caused a number of clients to actually crash,” Bates said in a video on the company’s blog. “We’ve been able to mitigate that crash risk and isolate that.”
He didn’t say what caused the crash and said the company had ruled out a malicious attack.
Skype will give pre-pay and pay-as-you-go users 30 minutes of free calling, and active subscribers will get a week’s extra subscription, the company said.
Skype has more than 560 million users. Of those, only 1.4 percent pay for the service, according to a regulatory filing. The Luxembourg-based company started as a way for consumers to chat for free.
Audio and video calls as well as instant-messaging capabilities are now working, the company said. Some features, such as group video calling, are still unavailable.
Rival service OoVoo LLC said it received 100,000 new registrations yesterday, double its previous record for peak usage. The New York-based company attributed the peak to defecting Skype users, Matt Houser, a spokesman for the company, said in an e-mail.
Skype said it will do a full post-mortem of the cause of the outage. It is using servers that normally support offline instant messaging and multiparty video calls to get its main products online, Bates said.
The company accounts for about 12 percent of international calling, according to the Washington-based research firm Telegeography.
EBay which bought Skype in 2005, sold most of its stake last year for about $2 billion to a group led by Menlo a US based private-equity firm Silver Lake.