Microsoft Celebrates Photosynth Server Failure, Surprised People Like It

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In the startup world, server spikes and downtime are a fact of life. We’ve seen countless startups fall prey to the huge rushes of traffic they receive at launch, and while it can be frustrating at times (see past comments), it’s not generally viewed as a sign of failure or incompetence.

But when you’re one of the largest tech corporations in the world, launching a much-hyped service, you’d think you might be prepared for something out of the ordinary.

Today Microsoft released Photosynth, a site that stitches plain photographs together to create a pseudo-3D world. Microsoft first presented the product back in 2006, and has since demoed it a number of times. The two year wait for Photosynth ended today as Microsoft finally opened the doors to the public.

And the millions of users who clamored to try it out promptly brought the server to its knees.

Okay, so Microsoft’s servers failed. It’s not something that should be happening to a massive tech company, but it isn’t the first time and it certainly won’t be the last. But instead of issuing a standard explanation apologizing for the outage, Microsoft wrote a blog post that sounded downright happy. Here’s an excerpt:

With everyone waking up around the world traffic has been on a steady ramp up since that release and has far exceeded even our most optimistic expectations.

Getting ready for the launch we did massive amounts of performance testing, built capacity model after capacity model, and yet with all of that, you threw so much traffic our way that we need to add more capacity. We are adding that extra horsepower right now and should be back up shortly.

Thank you for the incredible reception!

We see similar optimistic responses to server failure all the time from startups. Except they’re startups. Imagine if Apple had responded to the iPhone’s server registration outage by proclaiming that it was overjoyed by the overwhelming response. It’s understandable that Microsoft is happy to have made a product people like, but let’s save the celebrations until the program actually works.

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