Apple Store, MacWorld Expo Sites Slowed by Heavy Traffic

What happens when hordes of Mac enthusiasts stress-test Apple and Microsoft products in head-to-head performance? Macintosh and Windows web server products got a real-world workout Tuesday following Apple's unveiling of its new Mac Mini and iPod Shuffle products at the MacWorld Expo conference in San Francisco.

The Apple web site, which runs on Mac OS X, experienced some slowdowns but was largely available. Apple's online store (also on Mac OS X) struggled, however, experiencing outages and lengthy response times. Faring even worse was the official site for MacWorld Expo, which runs on Windows Server 2003, and was offline for hours following the show's keynote address by Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

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Dynamically updating performance charts are available for the www.apple.com, store.apple.com and www.macworldexpo.com sites.

The MacWorld Expo agenda had generated widespread rumors and even lawsuits, as Apple sought to prevent leaks, going so far as to sue several Mac weblogs for revealing information about new products. The Mac mini is just 6.5 inches wide and 2 inches tall and priced from $499, while the iPod Shuffleis a diminutive digital music player offering storage of 140 songs for $99.

Calls for a retaliatory blogger boycott of Jobs' big speech went unheeded amid excitement about the new Apple products. But the furor -and the ensuing outages at the MacWorld Expo site - prompted further comparisons between Apple and Microsoft. "Not only has the conference site been impenetrable, Jobs and company are so into control the webcast is being taped and delayed until tonight," noted Staci Kramer, editor of PaidContent, a leading digital media news site. "I had a little fun at Bill Gates' expense last week when he ran into some tech trouble at CES but I give Microsoft full credit for providing access offsite and onsite at the same time - and in high-quality for those of us watching online."