Software glitch halts Skype VoIP service

Many Skype users from Europe to Latin America were not able to use the popular program to make long-distance calls using their computers because of a software problem, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said Skype, a division of online auction company eBay, posted on its web site that many of its users were 'having problems' logging into the free service.

'Our engineering team has determined that it's a software issue,' according to a Skype blog post. 'We expect this to be resolved within 12 to 24 hours.'

A statement from eBay about the outage mirrored the message on Skype's web site, the Associated Press report said.

It was not immediately clear how many users were affected, but Skype users in Vietnam, Colombia, Brazil, Germany, Finland and the US reported difficulties logging on. Judging from the timing of comments to that posting, some users had been without service for nearly 20 hours.

The blog also dispelled growing rumors in cyberspace that the program, and the company, had crashed or been the victim of hackers.

Instead, the blog said the problem was caused by 'a deficiency in an algorithm within Skype networking software. This controls the interaction between the users own Skype client and the rest of the Skype network.'

Skype has nearly 220 million accounts but there usually around 5 million to 6 million of them online at given time. In January, Skype reported that it had counted 9 million users online at one time.