Almost 36 hours after the problem caused widespread outages in eBay Inc.'s Skype service, engineers continue to work to fully restore this extremely popular Internet telephony and instant messaging service, while many business users deal with work disruptions.
Although steady progress has been made throughout the day Friday, the problem, which has affected millions of Skype users, hasn't been fully fixed.
At midnight GMT Friday, an official provided the latest update on Skype's Heartbeat blog , saying that the sign-on problems have been resolved, but that the instant messaging presence and chat may take a few more hours to be fully operational for all.
"If you are one of the minority who may still be experiencing problems, please be patient. You do not need to adjust or restart your computer. Skype will start working for you very soon," wrote Villu Arak [cq]. "We will issue a further update when we know that Skype is functioning normally, or if there is further material news."
The widespread software problem, which centered on the system's ability to log users into the service, has particularly stung people who use Skype for business. Skype estimates that about 30 percent of its users employ Skype as a work-related communications tool.
"The outage has had quite a profound effect on my working day, and has meant spending time setting up other chat clients and networking with colleagues via alternative means," Michael Pick, a freelance blogger and social media consultant, wrote in an e-mail interview Friday.
Based in Japan, Pick works from home and has clients and colleagues all over the world, many of whom also work from their homes. "I guess that might make us a particularly dependent group on Skype," he wrote.
Skype is his virtual work communications hub for text chats, file sharing and voice calls. "In the average day there is very little time that Skype isn't on in the background, and I use it extensively to speak to clients and colleagues scattered all over the world," he wrote.
In addition to the basic, free Skype services, Pick also pays for additional Skype telephony services. He feels Skype could have handled this situation better from a support and communications perspective. "For a so-called Web 2.0 service, communication is key, and I can imagine that Skype may well have lost quite a few supporters in favor of some of the other VOIP services today," he wrote.
Thomas Vander Wal, a social Web advisor and consultant who runs a one-man company called InfoCloud Solutions Inc. in Bethesda, Maryland, uses Skype as his primary communication channel for about half of his customers.
"When customers buy a day of my time and I am not meeting face to face, Skype is often my primary means of communicating, as I can connect to a client with voice and/or video and leave it running for the day. It is like having a tunnel into their offices with them seeing or hearing me working on their issues," he wrote in an e-mail interview Friday.
Luckily for him, he hadn't scheduled any such engagement during the time of the outage. "I use Skype 2 or 3 days a week and it hit at a time where it didn't impact me," he wrote.