Skype CEO Tony Bates: Here Is an Update

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Tony Bates, the former Cisco Systems executive, has had better days. For the past 24 hours, he has been coordinating the efforts to bring one of the world’s largest communication networks back up: Skype. Bates, who recently took over as Skype’s CEO, spoke to me about the service’s downtime and gave me a status report.

  • 16.5 million of 25 million concurrent users are back online, even though you might be seeing a lower number in your desktop client.
  • Users in Europe and on the U.S. East Coast are fully restored.
  • The IM, video and audio services are back up.
  • The Group Video services and offline IM capabilities are not going to be working for some time, mostly because Skype is using those servers as supernodes.
  • The company will issue an update later today.

“We are bringing up the service in a controlled manner and things are moving in the right direction,” said Bates. “This outage, if anything, has made it even more clear how reliant people are on the service. It is amazing to see how many people are using it.”

Bates, who said he is going to take many lessons from this outage, added: “I am sorry it happened, and we are going to be issuing formal compensation to people.” (Details to follow.)

Bates said the implementation of the new supernodes isn’t going to have a material cost for the company. “We have a fair idea as to what happened, but we are going to do a full postmortem,” said Bates. A handful of Windows clients failed and set off a chain reaction that brought down Skype. “One of the biggest lessons from this is how we do communications in the future,” he said.

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