Staring at the Skype logo on a blank screen
Staring at the Skype logo on a blank screen - 
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Doug Krizner: Skype, the online telephone service, crashed yesterday. Millions were incommunicado and some problems continue today, but the company doesn't fully understand what happened. From London, Stephen Beard reports.

Stephen Beard: Many of Skype's 220 million users were left floundering yesterday after a worldwide network failure.

The service, which allows users to call each other for free over their computers, was down for much of the day. There are still some problems logging on this morning.

The company says a flaw in software linking users to servers is most likely to blame, but Skype doesn't understand precisely why this flaw caused the whole network to crash.

Technology writer Barry Fox believes there may have been a virus attack. He says the incident underlines the fundamental flaw in Skype.

Barry Fox: Any service that relies on computers around the world which are in homes and not under the control of the organizing company has a weakness.

While Skype describes itself as highly reliable, it does point out it is not a replacement for a conventional telephone service and should not be relied on in emergencies.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.