Skype has apologised for the network problems it experienced last week, and offered a free week to Pro, Unlimited, SkypeIn, and Voicemail customers.
The Skype network went down for several days at the end of last week, for reasons which remain obscure. Skype has blamed outage on the effects of Microsoft's Patch Tuesday. 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 network supposedly triggered the instability.
In a mail sent out to all Skype subscribers, the company apologised for the outage and said the problem had been fixed. It also notified users that seven days has been added to their contract as "a goodwill gesture".
Skype is pitched as a cheaper alternative for long calls to friends and family, rather than a replacement for a traditional phone connection. In this context reliability is less important, though some companies, and many individuals, had been assuming telco levels of reliability and suffered for it.
Competing VoIP provider Jajah saw subscriptions shoot up while Skype was down, as thousands of people looked for an alternative way to make cut price calls over the weekend. The swiftness with which people switched providers demonstrates the lack of commitment most Skype users had - it seems likely many of them will switch back for the additional features Skype offers.
For those still concerned about reliability, Skype has promised to provide more technical details of what when wrong, and, more importantly, how it'll make sure it doesn't happen again. ®