Demand for Storm crashes ordering system

Portal shutdown temporarily thwarts purchases

While Verizon expected the BlackBerry Storm to be a hot-ticket item, it probably didn't anticipate that demand for the device would crash its online ordering portal.

But on Friday afternoon, Verizon stores were unable to process any more orders for the Storm, because high traffic apparently had overloaded the system with ordering requests. A representative at a Verizon Wireless store in the US, said that the outage hit his branch at around 3pm on Friday, with service returning one hour later.

In addition to in-store systems going down, Verizon's online portal for ordering the Storm went down: Clicking on the "Buy Now" button on the homepage will prompt a message telling you that the page you're looking for is unavailable.

"I guess they weren't ready to handle the capacity," says Lory Dix, a Verizon customer who had stopped by a Verizon Wireless store on Friday afternoon to fix a problem with her current phone. "All the systems were down when we went there, and people were just standing around."

Demand for the Storm has been strong so far; multiple sources have reported lines of 50 to 100 people queuing up outside Verizon Wireless stores to purchase the device. Reuters has also reported that Verizon customers created a "ruckus" when a Verizon store in Manhattan ran out of the device. Over 200 people had been waiting in line since before 8am, the report said, and police had to step in to calm things down. One New Yorker pre-ordered the Storm at both Best Buy and Circuit City, but when he visited local stores for each chain, neither had any devices left, nor did a Verizon store nearby.

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Brad Reed and John Dix

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