A technical glitch affecting Skype early Monday may be thwarting many users from making or receiving phone calls.
Skype acknowledged the issue on Monday in a message posted on its Heartbeat site, which alerts Skype users to status issues, saying that "we have detected an issue that is affecting Skype in a number of ways."
You can't change your status, so if you and your contacts are set up in Skype as being offline, none of you can go online, which means no phone calls can be exchanged.
Further, a small number of group chat messages aren't being delivered, though in most cases, you can still instant message your contacts. And in some cases, you may have trouble signing into Skype as your credit balance and profile details are taking longer than usual to show up.
Skype tweeted around 8:20 a.m. PT that "we've found and are now rectifying" the problem, but as of 9:20 a.m. PT had yet to announce a complete fix. Users were still reporting problems, according to monitoring site Downrightnow.com.
The company announced at 4:53 p.m. PT that service was "fully restored."
In an earlier message on the Heartbeat site, Leonas Sendrauskas, a Web quality assurance engineer for Skype, said the company is trying to fix the issue.
Owned by Microsoft, Skype faces increasing competition from rival messaging apps such as Viber and WhatsApp. But at this point it remains one of the most popular services for making phone and video calls and texting people. So the current glitch is likely to affect a fair number of people who rely on Skype.
Until the issue is resolved, does this mean all of you Skype users are out of commission? No, there is one workaround. The problem is affecting the mobile and desktop versions of Skype, but not the Web version. Currently in beta mode, Skype for the Web supports Windows with Internet Explorer 10 or higher as well as the latest versions of Chrome and Firefox, and the Mac with Safari 6 or higher.
The Web version does require you to install a plug-in. But once you've set up the app, you can change your status from offline to online via the web interface. Of course, your fellow contacts also need to be able to go online. So you may still be limited in your ability to call certain people.
Finally, Sendrauskas cautions that you may run into trouble loading pages on the Skype Community site, which displays announcements and provides a support forum for users. So your best best is to check the Skype Heartbeat site for the latest information.
Update, 9:20 a.m. PT: Skye said it had found and was fixing the problem. Update, 5:30 a.m. PT, Sept. 22: Skype's announcement of the issue's resolution was added.