Millions of Skype users around the world were left incommunicado on Wednesday when the popular Internet telephony system was disrupted by a massive glitch.
Skype issued an apology for the outage, which left millions of people unable to log on to the service or connect to any of their contacts. Skype said that the problem appeared to originate in the service's peer-to-peer system, in which some users' computers are used as "super nodes" to help the application connect with users.
"Under normal circumstances, there are a large number of super nodes available. Unfortunately, today, many of them were taken offline by a problem affecting some versions of Skype," the company said in a web posting.
"Our engineers are creating new 'mega-super nodes' as fast as they can, which should gradually return things to normal. This may take a few hours, and we sincerely apologize for the disruption to your conversations."
Skype prides itself on the robustness of its network, with its last major outage in 2007. But with the company increasingly positioning itself as a corporate communications tool, Wednesday's snafu could be damaging.
"Skype is one of the key applications of the modern web," said Om Malik of the technology blog GigaOm. "If I am a big business, I would be extremely cautious about adopting Skype for business, especially in light of this current outage."