Skype: You got some 'splainin to do

And Skype has an excuse at the ready: Microsoft. Unfortunately not everyone is buying it.

When Skype went AWOL for 48 hours last week, it came back smelling of cheap perfume and rotgut gin. Some 220 million users waited in their doorways wearing curlers and holding rolling pins, demanding to know where Skype had been. Naturally, Skype had a good excuse at the ready.

They blamed Microsoft.

A security update that rebooted millions of computers at the same time revealed a heretofore unknown weakness in Skype's peer-to-peer VOIP network. At least, that's Skype's story and they're sticking to it.

Normally this is a good strategy. If something catastrophic happens to you, it's always a good idea to blame the Redmond devils. You have at least a 50 percent chance of being right. And everybody knows what a terrible influence Microsoft is.

Unfortunately for Skype, Redmond isn't supporting the Patch Tuesday alibi. Microsoft says it spent the night with a sick friend. And while Windows Update's habit of blithely rebooting computers in the middle of the night is incredibly annoying, it's not usually fatal.

Skype's 'perfect storm' excuse isn't washing with many users, who believe there must be a more sinister explanation, given those lipstick stains on Skype's collar. But Skype vehemently denies spending time with Svetlana, that Russian hacker floozy who brought the Estonian government to its knees earlier this year.

The problem has been fixed, and Skype has promised to never visit that bar again. But trust once shattered is difficult to restore. I'm afraid the honeymoon is over, Skype. Time to do the dishes.

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Robert X. Cringely

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