Friday, July 11, 2008

It's Only A Phone, People! - Part 2

Nah, nah, nah, nah! Told you so.

Once again, the in-store ONLY activation plan - the Steve Jobs my-way-or-the-highway method of activating the phone - has crashed and burned - exactly as I predicted yesterday.

The whole idea of in-store only activation was to prevent people from buying the phone, going home, hacking it, and then switching providers. Because, the thought went, if you did that - you would be locked in to the AT&T contract and at the minimum you would have to pay the difference between the subsidized price and the retail price as well as an early termination fee to AT&T.

Sounds great! Good idea!

If only it worked.

Almost immediately the activation servers at Apple went down due to such a huge surge in traffic from such a huge surge in demand for the new iPhone.

That, in turn, took down the other servers that were serving up the iPhone 2.0 update software for iPod Touch and iPhone 1.0 people trying to update to the new software.

THAT, in turn, took down the iTunes store.

Well, if you're going to crash and burn - you might as well do it all the way!

Nothing like working for 6 months to hype a new product, build demand, build feverish anticipation and actually get people to stand in line to buy the thing - only to fail at the last 10 feet of service. Even in my suburbian town we have an AT&T store on the way to the office, so I thought I'd stop by (about 8:15am PST) to see what the reaction would be. I expected a handful of the faithful waiting in line.

There was about 175 people snaking a line all the way around the building. I didn't even have the courage to go into the parking lot. Our office is right across the street from a mall that has an Apple Store in it. I didn't even bother going to see how many people were there.

What a bummer it must be to be an IT hack over at Apple Corporate today! I can only imagine how many people are getting fired on the spot in a patented Steve Jobs tirade.

The good news is - they now get to work all weekend long (FREE pizza! FREE RedBull!)... and get the opportunity to be under the entire world's microscope. I sure hope they brought a sleeping bag and a change of clothes...

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