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New iPod Owner Onslaught Overwhelms iTunes 395

Posted by Zonk
from the drowning-in-white-plastic dept.
Billosaur writes "In the post-Christmas rush to power up and use their new iPods, an onslaught of downloaders brought iTunes to its knees, according to CNN. Monday and Tuesday saw users posting message after message about slow downloads and the iTunes site denying them entry. The heavy traffic was apparently more than the system could bear, what with the large numbers of people receiving iPods and iTunes gift cards. Perhaps Apple was underestimating just how successful they were going to be?"
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New iPod Owner Onslaught Overwhelms iTunes

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  • by Hawthorne01 (575586) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @03:20PM (#17390556)
    The Microsoft Zune store was working just fine.

    Huh.
  • Oh goody! (Score:5, Funny)

    by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @03:20PM (#17390562)
    It's September on USENET all over again.
  • iDoted (Score:4, Funny)

    by Lucan Varo (974578) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @03:20PM (#17390564)
    iTunes got slashdoted, iDoted.
  • So what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by notque (636838)
    So they underestimated how successful they'd be, and will quickly throw money at the problem and correct the issue.

    I don't see this as positive, or negative. It happened, if they fix it quickly we'll all move on.
  • I helped with this (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sgt.greywar (1039430) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @03:22PM (#17390582) Homepage Journal
    2/3rds of the gifts I bought this year were iPods and iTunes music gift cards. I think I am not alone in this and the traffic shutdown on iTunes shows it. Apple has done a great job with their service and I don't mind paying for it. My wife did have to wait until yesterday to buy the rest of her Tunes though since the site was so hammered.
  • That's hilarious!

    Somehow, I doubt that Apple feels too badly about this; and I'm sure they're scaling up their server farm to accomodate this, their most recent success.

  • by fatboy (6851) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @03:28PM (#17390680)
    CNN confirms it! iTunes is dieing!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Quote: "Perhaps Apple was underestimating just how successful they were going to be?"

    I thought the press was saying the iPod wave had crested and the sales were on a downward spiral....
    What if Apple believed those reports and scaled back iTunes?... Naaw not likely. But it is nice to see Apple get suprised once in a while.
  • by mrshermanoaks (921067) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @03:30PM (#17390716)
    Apple sells a ton of iPods, and then gets press about how many iPods they sell. You can't just do a news story about Apple selling a lot of iPods for the holidays, that's the story we hear every year. You need a situation where they sell so many damn iPods that their service is overwhelmed. That's a story. And you're further reinforcing the idea that "everyone" owns an iPod and nobody owns a Zune. Yeah, it was a pain for people for a day or so. If I read a story about how many iPods were returned because people had trouble with the iTMS, that's something else. But do you think those iPods went back? Doubt it.
    • to get into the game. Simply put the iPod has had time to establish dominance. It has become part of culture. I know many people who refer to buying an iPod but don't consider it the same as an MP3 player. Being late to enter the market of any product which sparks public interest will leave all others behind, it doesn't hurt that most of the early competitors were trapped under MusicMatch (or whatever that horrid product was)

      I think another thing the gave Microsoft issues, and it continues to hit the oth
      • The so called "halo" effect the iPod is claimed to have on this site and elsewhere doesn't seem to exist where I live.

        I was in Denver last week (stuck b/c of the snowstorm) with time to kill and went into an apple store for the first time. They were selling ipods as fast as they could unpack the boxes. Anyway, there were tons of people looking at MBs (a few buying). I think the halo effect is there and starting to work, but moving from a $100-$200 purchase (which can be an impulse buy for many people) to
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CDarklock (869868)
      I'm eyeing the Zune. So far, every single detractor I have heard about it is a software problem. Lot of problems, to be sure, but most of them amount to "not an iPod" or "not what I wish it was". Very few of the complaints are in any way reflective of an inability to do the job: play music and video in a portable format.

      Compare iPod: can't change the battery, case easily scratched, screen not large and bright enough. Those are hardware. Once you have those problems, you have to just get a different player.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by c00rdb (945666)
        Compare Zune: Bigger screen with the exact same resolution, bulkier to carry, less efficient interface (deemed by most), no options other than color for the hardware....
        • by gordgekko (574109) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @08:08PM (#17393746) Homepage
          bulkier to carry


          God, I wish this would die. The Zune is marginally larger and heavier than the latest iPods. If the Zune is a huge brick, that means every previous iPod was a monster as well.

          And before someone resorts to that tired accusation of "shill", I own a 5.5G 80GB iPod and a Mac (along with two Windows XP machines).
      • Very few of the complaints are in any way reflective of an inability to do the job: play music and video in a portable format.

        True. But I think some of the problems that Microsoft was also marketing. In order to beat Apple they may have hyped certain features that did not turn as people expected. i.e. Zune has wireless. Technically true but when you use "wireless" most people expected full 802.11 connection not Zune to Zune limited sharing. Every company does some hyping on features in marketing, but

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mgv (198488)
        So of the two things you could get right, Microsoft chose to focus on the physical device that needs to be shipped and examined and repaired, while Apple chose to focus on the readily copied and distributed software that would otherwise need to be downloaded from the web.

        Overall, I think Zune made the best choices of where to fail. Both sides are failing a little, but the Zune doesn't have any failures that can't be fixed free of charge later on down the line.


        Right. Like windows XP, it doesn't have any fai
    • by plopez (54068)
      You get my 'tinfoil hat' award for this one. More likely, like all corps., Apple just went cheap on thier hosting. Or if they internally host, went cheap on setting up thier systems. They are a large corporation and therefore clumbsy and clueless from time-to-time (though not as bad as some, e.g. HP or MS who make 'F-troop'
      look downright organized).
  • Proof? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by repetty (260322)
    A couple anecdotes and an analyst who uses the technical term "blew up" are a pretty week foundation for a news story.

    I have drawn these conclusions:

    1. The iTunes service has operated just fine
    2. It's a very, very slow news day

    --Richard
    • by Dunbal (464142)
      1. The iTunes service has operated just fine

            Funny, why is CNN running the story then? I know their standards have dropped a lot in recent years, but SOMETHING must be wrong with the site.
    • by fatboy (6851)
      Well, I had trouble purchasing a song 2 days ago. From what I could gather, the servers used during the checkout of my purchase were responding with an error "503 Service Unavailable". IIRC, the dialog box had "Retry" and "Cancel" buttons. I had to click retry a few times, but I was able to get my copy of "We are the ones" by Zombie Girl. :P
  • by CODiNE (27417) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @03:33PM (#17390764) Homepage
    Heh... from the article
    "No doubt it was a very, very popular gift, and no matter how well you plan on the server side of the equation, there are always times when you get caught short."
    How I love differences in US [about.com] and UK English [phrases.org.uk]... yes I imagine they were caught short indeed!
  • Dear Apple, (Score:5, Funny)

    by TheOldSchooler (850678) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @03:33PM (#17390766)
    I bought my wife an IPod Nano and an I-Tunes gift card. I am so sorry.
  • Signing in. (Score:2, Funny)

    by Spazntwich (208070)
    I was gifted with an iPod shuffle for Christmas, and haven't even bothered to try out the iTunes store yet.

    This post is about as useful as an alligator both on fire and LSD.
  • Doesn't Apple host the actual content with Akamai? I know their website did.
  • ...they were talking of the FAILURE of iTunes just a month a go!
  • Systems and Spikes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MrGHemp (189288)
    In the brick-and-morder storea if you suddenly had a spike in sales... no one blamed you if you didn't get a new store constructed in a day or two to meet the demand. Plus if the demand spike only lasted a day or two did anyone expect you to construct an extra store and have it just sit dormant until that one or two days next year when you had the sales to support using it? No. So part of me doesn't wonder if some of these big online applications don't kinda expect to have there hardware taxed for a day
    • Who says increasing server capacity would have prevented the problem. Maybe the problem was in the network/bandwidth area? I'm not an expert in these matters but the problem may have been more systematic than not enough servers to handle the transactions.
  • To automatically download album artwork, it requires that you log into your itunes store account, which requires a credit card number to complete, even though there is no mention of any fees involved with doing so.

    Idiotic, if you ask me.

  • Now in addition to being swamped, they are going to be slashdotted by everyone checking if they really are swamped.
  • by heroine (1220) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @04:15PM (#17391336) Homepage
    The internet was overall extremely slow after XMas, mainly due to Taiwan going
    offline for an earthquake. All the traffic to Asia had to go through the Atlantic cables instead of the Pacific cables.

  • I wonder how much of a load this article is adding to those servers?
  • Every iPod includes a CD with iTunes on it.
  • Packaging (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fupeg (653970) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @07:12PM (#17393316)
    Since I own stock in Apple, I sure hope this was because of tons of iPods being sold and overwhelming demand for ITMS downloads. However, it might have been caused by Apple's change in packaging. When I bought a Nano in October 2005, it came in a cardboard package, approximately the size of two CDs. It needed to be bigger than a CD because it contained a CD -- a CD with iTunes on it. If you buy a Nano or Shuffle (not sure about the video iPod) this year, they come in a clear plastic package that's a rectangular solid similar in size to a soda can. The packaging can be smaller because it does not contain a CD with iTunes on it. Instead, you have to download iTunes from Apple. So maybe that was the cause of the traffic in Christmas morning. Lots of first time iPod owners all trying to download iTunes. That's a 35 MB download, compared to the ~4 MB downloads for most songs on ITMS. Steve Jobs was touting that the smaller packaging was more environmentally friendly (maybe cheaper, too?)
  • by way2trivial (601132) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @07:34PM (#17393484) Homepage Journal
    if you expected a 4 fold ncrease for 72 hours, then demand to drop to more moderate levels- you might decide to take the service hit rather than make a huge capital
      investment that would cover your 'brownout'
  • software updates (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ElephanTS (624421) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @11:40PM (#17395030)
    I had to fix a family member's Ipod mini on Xmas day and found that the ipod software updates were overwhelmed too. I wonder if many of the new pods were downloading updates too - it was nearly 20Mb I think. Seems like they come through the store now. Got it in the end though.
  • by EERac (873862) on Friday December 29, 2006 @01:48AM (#17395750) Homepage

    Obviously it's a bummer to not be able to buy new music for a day, but with DRM, there's more at stake. On Chrismas, I wanted to transfer some songs and videos I already owned to my new iPod, but I was using my powerbook which I hadn't authorized to play the songs. Even though I had the files, iTunes wouldn't put unauthorized content on my new iPod. When I tried to authorize my computer, I couldn't because the iTunes music store was down.

    Even if the iTunes store is too flooded to handle new purchases, Apple has an obligation to keep rights management up and running. It's very disheartening to lose access to content you made the deliberate choice to buy legally.

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