Personally, I think the whole thing is just one big publicity stunt to make W7 look even more inviting... I can see it in the papers tomorrow: "Microsoft Severs Crash Under Consumers Demand For Its Newest OS"
What else could they expect... advertising 2.5 million beta licenses, knowing 40 mill would be clamoring to get this 'endangered species' before it is gone forever.
The ISO download links are still active yet they do not appear on the W7 page... and the license key page is also active, despite it being frequently busy and often displaying an error page, there are quite a few people who report getting through after a few refreshes and sailing through the key registration process without a hiccup. Thus it would seem, if the 2 major components are working, the taking down of the links from the W7 page is not what Microsoft is saying it is.
Furthermore, I find it hard to believe that MS will adhere to the 2.5 million beta licenses Worldwide. That's less than .05% of the population and thus would severely limit its veiwability and word of mouth advertising from beta testers. Nope, I can't see Microsoft making it a virtual cellar dweller when it can really show it off to the World by puttings it on tens of millions of PC's... a showcase in situ, so to speak.
Besides, the same or similar thing was said regardingt the Vista public beta, and going by the announced cutoff, I and hundreds of people I know should have missed out... but we didn't.... even several days later and before the MS announcement to extend the Vista beta.
To be blunt, the entire thing was handled very shoddily, at best. Even IF the server crash were true, Microsoft had enough time and expertise to have implement measure to have prevented it. Worse still, there are hundreds, if not thousands of people waiting it out on the W7 page and blog site, yet Microsoft is playing its cards very close to its chest and is not giving out any indication when activity may resume... not even a ball park estimate, which isn't pleasing the many who have been trying to download the beta since 12 noon US Pacific Time yesterday.
It's said that any publicity is good publicity, but I can see Steve Jobs rubbing his hands all the way to the bank on this one. MS detractors and Gates haters are more likely now to go with OS-X after this fiasco. It was handle poorly and MS seems to care little for those who have waited almost 24 hours now... and still nothing on the W7 page to give them even the slightest encouragemment. Yup, MS will lose past AND undecided customers over this um... creating an artificial bottleneck to give the false impression a larger majority wants W7 than actually does.
Sure I want Windows 7 to evaluate prior to purchase if I like it, but if MS are still stuffing people around when I next try to obtain a lisence key, I simply won't bother at all.