Microsoft On Skype Outage: Don't Blame Us
Microsoft's official stance on the recent Skype outage that left millions of users without phone access for two days last week? "Hey, it's not our fault."
The outage, which began last Thursday and continued into Friday, resulted from a bug in Skype's software that wasn't able to handle the flood of system reboots from users following Microsoft's August Patch Tuesday release.
Christopher Budd, part of the Microsoft Security Response Team, stated in a blog entry that the released patches weren't the cause of the outage. "We checked to see if there were any issues introduced by the security updates that could have caused the situation, and we found that there were no issues introduced by the security updates themselves," he stated.
Skype agreed with that assessment. In a blog entry on the failure, Skype spokesperson Villu Arak said "We don't blame anyone but ourselves. The Microsoft Update patches were merely a catalyst -- a trigger -- for a series of events that led to the disruption of Skype, not the root cause of it."
Budd said in the blog that, from Microsoft's end, it was a typical Patch Tuesday. "We confirmed that there is nothing unusual in this month's release that could have contributed to this situation. From a release point of view, this month's release followed our usual format and processes." It was the largest number of patches released for a number of months, but Microsoft has had that large a release, and larger, in the past.
Again, Arak agreed and exonerated Microsoft. "In short -- there was nothing different about this set of Microsoft patches," he wrote.
In addition, it doesn't appear that the patches caused any widespread problems with other vendors' products.
Budd said Microsoft is very careful in determining the possible affects of patches. "We are always watching for any issues that could have an impact on deploying the security updates, and overall, our ongoing monitoring of the last week's release shows that the deployment of updates is going smoothly," he wrote.
But do Skype users have anything to worry about regarding future Microsoft patch releases? Arak said no. "The bug [that caused the outage] has been squashed ...We'd like to reassure our users across the globe that we've done everything we need to do to make sure this doesn't happen again."
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.