Mozilla has announced that it will pull the plug on the Skype add-on toolbar for Firefox and remotely disable it following a spate of crashes and performance issues.
The Skype Toolbar add-on comes bundled with the chat program and is installed automatically with the main application. One of the features of the add-on is that it transforms telephone numbers found in web pages into clickable hyperlinks for easy dialing.
Well, that was the idea anyway. But the add-on has been found to cause serious performance problems, as well as being crashing the browser a total of 33,000 times in a single week.
After spending almost two weeks trying to contact someone at Skype who might be able to fix the problem, Justin Scott of the Mozilla add-ons team decided it was time to pull the plug on the add-on:
Over the past 2 weeks we've doubled our efforts to contact the Skype extension team and several people at Skype have told us they pinged the extension team for us. We did not receive a response from them until this afternoon.
Given the volume of crashes, the extent of the performance impact, the fact that users don't actually choose to install this add-on, and the extension team's lack of response during the weeks we were giving them to solve these issues, we should continue as planned to soft-block all versions of Skype in all versions of Firefox immediately.
This will supersede our previous soft-block of versions lower than 184.108.40.20670. I would like to wait on hard-blocking for a few days to see how helpful the soft-block is.
If these issues are fixed in a future version, we will be happy to reduce the block to only the affected versions. But with 33,000 crashes in the last week, this can't wait any longer for a fix from Skype.
A soft-block will remotely disable the add-on but give users the option of overriding the block. A hard-block would disable the add-on and not give the user a chance to override the block. Mozilla hope that by soft-blocking the add-on this will encourage someone at Skype to come out of the woodwork and fix the add-on.