OneDrive back on its feet, but ongoing Skype credit problem hasn't gone away
Happy New year mum... no I'm calling from the landline
Updated An issue with payments and credits for Skype subscribers remains ongoing, days after The Register was first informed by readers that it was broken.
It wasn't the only breaking change for Microsofties in the New Year, after the team on Monday rolled back a "recently enabled" tweak "within a specific app responsible for regulating access to" OneDrive. However, the cloud storage unit did recover on January 2 after a six-hour plus outage – albeit with users pretty steamed over being told they wouldn't be able to access their documents for hours and little available support.
This was not the case, unfortunately, for consumer users of Skype. While some can still use the platform to call friends and fam, others say they have had trouble spending or buying Skype credits and subscriptions, with some being charged twice, according to Microsoft, or multiple times, according to users in the Microsoft Support Community.
Reg reader Cooper got in touch to warn about the ongoing Skype credits problem, noting that the length of time engineers had been working on a fix was "much longer than usual SaaS tolerances." He added: "It looks like they released a new patch/version on the back end and blew up integration with Office 365 subscriptions and payments."
He added that there seemed to have been a "software update to the Skype stack somewhere, not sure if it's deep in their infra or just a service up top relating to billing."
One user complained that when his "subscription ... wasn't listed at my Purchase history... I couldn't make Christmas calls to my family."
Some users, including Reg readers, have managed to activate their Skype subscription manually by following the steps on
https://www.skype.com/en/office/get-skype/ – as advised by the vendor on its status update pages.
Onlookers might be forgiven for guessing the extended credit problems at Skype are a question of priorities. In its glory days, Skype was the sixth most downloaded app in the decade between 2010 and 2019, but Redmond placed it in the corner after the development of Teams, banishing it to the Microsoft Store with the coming of Windows 11, where it is no longer a preinstalled app on the operating system.
The Skype for Business product – once used by such venerables as particle accelerator boffins at CERN, which swapped it with softphone client CERNphone in June – is still going, but the online version was replaced by Teams in 2019 and reached end-of-life last year.
However, status messages on Microsoft's service portal confirm not only that the problem appears to extend back to late November, when the Windows maker first started noting that it had "received reports from some users that they're unable to manage their Skype Credits and subscriptions, or that they've received duplicate charges," but also seems to show that Microsoft techies have indeed been consistently working on the problem, though apparently without complete success.
Multiple updates appear to show the tech team attempting fixes throughout December, at one point confirming users were "now able to spend, gift, or purchase Skype credits or subscriptions," although user accounts on the Community forum continue to beg to differ.
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But some of the December "mitigation actions" broke something else, hitting new Microsoft 365 user subscribers in the pocket – they weren't getting their free 60 minutes of Skype calling credits. The company said it was "working on" restoring those. (Microsoft 365 users get 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage per person and 60 Skype minutes to call mobile phones and landlines along with cloudy Office desktop apps.)
Incidentally, the Skype mobile UI received an overhaul along with the addition of several new features and bug fixes in mid-December. We've asked Microsoft if there is a connection.
By late December, Microsoft said it had managed to remove some of the duplicate Skype credit charges and was "continuing to review mitigation options to restore credit subscriptions."
The Windows giant bought Skype 11 years ago for $8.5 billion, and despite the rise of Zoom and Whatsapp, Signal and other OTT video and meeting apps, millions of consumer users appear to still be hanging on. Like Zoom, Skype also got a booster shot from the pandemic, in 2020, Microsoft confirmed 40 million people were using it daily and there had been a 20 percent increase in Skype to Skype calling minutes month over month. (Rough project statistics show usage is dropping now.) In the same post, the Windows maker said 44 million people used the Teams product at work every day.
The legacy tech is more than a video platform; its VOIP calling credits were once one of the most affordable ways to call home when halfway across the world. Today everyone has a Wi-Fi phone and international roaming is a lot more affordable. But there will certainly be some who've got a subscription going to call a landline, for example, and they won't be happy if they were trying to load credits to call mum over the Christmas break.
We've asked Microsoft for comment. ®
Updated to add on 5 January
A Microsoft spokesperson told us: “We’re actively working to address this and in the meantime, customers can activate their Skype subscriptions manually by following the activation steps here [
https://www.skype.com/en/office/get-skype/] or reach out to Microsoft support for further assistance. For customers who have multiple orders of Skype Credits and don’t need that many credits, they can request a refund by following the steps here [