A furious Beer would not rule out legal action. "This is unacceptable. I have been using my account practically every day for the past 10 years. It is vital to the operation of my company. If I do not have it reinstated immediately I will have no alternative but to consider my options and take legal action," he said.
An email just received from Microsoft's support team said: "We have checked our records and your account does not exist in the Microsoft system. Please check the spelling of your account. If you are sure this is the correct Microsoft account, it is also possible that it has expired due to inactivity.
"Your account will expire if you do not sign in regularly or within the first 10 days after registration. When the account is deleted, all messages, folders, and contacts are deleted as well. Incoming messages will be sent back to the sender as undeliverable, but the user name is immediately available for registration."
But last evening he was given a sharp reminder that the Typhoid Mary of the Internet has a long reach and can still foul up one's day.
Beer has been using Skype for communicating with his staff — all of whom use the same software various platforms — and maintaining editorial lists and the like. It is a lifeline for his business.
On Thursday, when he tried to log in at 5pm, he found himself locked out of his Skype account.
He contacted Microsoft's support forum, only to be told that his email address, which he has used for as long as iTWire has been in existence — since 2005 — does not exist in Microsoft's system!
"Thanks for sending your request to Microsoft Online Safety. We tried to reactivate the email account you provided, but it doesn't exist in our system. Can you please resend the email address for the account you want to reactivate, paying special attention to the spelling?" the response from the company's online safety group said.
"We appreciate your help and will try to get you back online as quickly as possible."
"I use my Skype name as my login and what happens now is that it tells me that my account has been suspended and gives me a link to page where it tells me that I have to contact support to get it reinstated," Beer said, adding that it was mighty peculiar that a man who generated the news was now the subject of a story himself.
"However, in order to contact support I must have another Microsoft account or create one (which I have done) and then fill in a long form giving all my personal details. I have done all that - 16 hours later still no account reinstated."
As seen below, the Skype support Twitter account indicates that there have been problems with logins.
We are looking into some issues affecting logging in to Skype, and hope to resolve it as soon as possible. Stay tuned for an update.— Skype Support (@SkypeSupport) October 6, 2016
Beer said there had been no recent updates to either OS X or Skype on his laptop, adding that he had never had a problem with Skype before this.
"I am outraged and worried because my Skype account contains years of invaluable data, including contacts and conversations, that I need for my business," he said.
This writer experienced a loss of some Skype data a few months ago, at the time when Microsoft announced a new alpha client for Linux. However, none of the data was crucial and hence it was just ignored as being business as usual for Microsoft.