Windows 7 Has Its First Blunder

Try to download the Windows 7 public beta Friday? Well, in the tradition of it's not a successful launch if the servers don't crash, Microsoft's clearly launched this one off the pad! It was reminiscent of the recent Apple iPhone / iTunes / MobileMe provisioning and upgrade crashes. Maybe Microsoft's learned more from Apple than we thought. 

A colleague of mine was able to download the Windows 7 public beta earlier Friday afternoon but by evening the servers were overrun with download requests. Microsoft had to call uncle and stop the bleeding by shutting off the download servers while they bring on more servers. Understand that to a large degree, this is due to Microsoft's own declaration that they'd only provide 2.5 million license keys for the beta. It was like the 5am line at Best Buy on Black Friday following Thanksgiving. Folks were lining up "to get there's" before the gettin' was all gone.

While you could officially call this the first blunder of Windows 7's short product history, it may entirely be the good kind. Buzz feeds buzz, and if successful, creates a frenzy which is certainly what we had here. But a lot of this wasn't entirely created by the 2.5 million license key cap (I'm undoubtedly giving Microsoft a bit too much credit and being tongue-in-cheek about planning this out.)

The early buzz about Windows 7 has been largely very positive. First and foremost, everyone's impressed by the quality and stability of what Microsoft handed out to developers and press at the 2008 Microsoft PDC conference. Developers I work with have been using the pre-beta Windows 7 on their laptops pretty successfully provided they were willing to work through a few compatibility issues here and there.

The pre-beta's been a lot less problem ridden than anyone expected, which has given rise to speculation Microsoft will ship Windows 7 before its stated 2010 time frame. The release of the Windows 7 public beta strengthens that belief as it doesn't seem likely we'd have a public beta with solid software for a full 12 months or more. I for example fully expect to download and run the Windows 7 public-beta on my main laptop as a replacement for Vista as are many other techies and early adopters.

Now, if you really want to look for a dark cloud rather than a silver lining, maybe the download issues were more of a problem with Microsoft's hosting infrastructure... you know, those cloud services we heard all about in 2008. Nah... I'm not going to go there. :)

So while my blog post title calls this a blunder (sorry for the teaser, I guess), Windows 7 is taking off like a rocket. Lets hope Windows 7 keeps on this positive trajectory so we can move away from Vista like we want to jettison ourselves out of the economic woes of 2008.

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