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Windows 7 Demand Crashes Microsoft Site [Update*]

Initial demand for Microsoft's new Windows 7 operating system is higher than expected, but that good news is tempered by the fact that the unexpected traffic jolt brought down the company's e-commerce servers. Bad timing, as Microsoft has just announced availability of its Azure infrastructure in the cloud service.

Indeed, the Microsoft online store servicing the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region can at this point only serve a page with the following message (repeated in five languages):

Dear Customer,

Thank you for visiting the Microsoft Store.

Due to the eagerly anticipated Windows 7 pre-order offer we're experiencing a higher level of demand on our website than usual. This means you can't access the site right now and we're sorry about that. We'll be back up and running as soon as we can so please try again soon to get your hands on a copy of Windows 7!

We look forward to seeing you again.

The Microsoft Store Team

You can be sure that the likes of Amazon, eBay, Rackspace and IBM will happily remind customers of this event as the vendors compete to offer flexible and supposedly scalable infrastructure on demand.

Of course, Microsoft will emphasize the fact that pre-orders for Windows 7 are much higher than expected, offsetting fears that the new OS is dead on arrival -- fears my colleague Erik Sherman ably debunked yesterday. [Update: Amazon said that sales of Windows 7 in the first eight hours it was available outstripped those of Windows Vista's entire 17 week pre-order period, according to the BBC.] That said, these sales are largely to individuals purchasing single copies of the new operating system, and thus isn't a useful gauge of how well the operating system will do with enterprise customers. It's also not a very good sign for Microsoft that it needed to stimulate demand by offering discounts of 37 and 47 percent for, respectively, basic and premium versions of the operating system.

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