Ina Fried

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SkypeOut: Service Is Down for Millions

Skype users were sent scrambling for one of the few remaining pay phones on Wednesday as the Internet telephone service experienced a widespread outage.

A page deep in the company’s support site confirms the issue, but appears to significantly understate the problem.

“We are aware that some people are encountering difficulties signing in to Skype,” reads the company’s response on a FAQ page for those having connection issues. “Rest assured, we are working hard to fix this. In the meantime, we apologise for any inconvenience this may be causing you.”

Maybe the company was just trying to reinforce its warning that Skype is not a replacement for the telephone in an emergency:

Needless to say, this isn’t the kind of conversation the company was seeking to spark as it tries to build momentum for a pending stock offering.

Update, 10:45 am PT: A Skype representative said in an email that the company is examining the cause and extent of the outage and again apologized to users for the inconvenience. Skype said to follow its Twitter account (@skype) for updates.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work