Microsoft's European online store crashed yesterday under the load from customers eager to grab discounted copies of Windows 7.

UPDATE (17/7/9): Microsoft drops Windows 7 discounts

During the outage, the site displayed a message that said, "Due to the eagerly anticipated Windows 7 pre-order offer, we're experiencing a higher level of demand on our website than usual. This means you can't access the site right now and we're sorry about that".

Amazon UK store claimed that it had sold more copies of Windows 7 in the sale's first eight hours than it did in the 17-week run of a similar pre-order offer in 2006 for Windows Vista.

Microsoft is selling Windows 7E Home Premium in the UK for £49.99, a 67% discount from the list price of £149.99, and selling Professional for £99.99, 55% under the usual £219.99.

European customers will receive Windows 7 in special editions, dubbed 'E' for 'Europe', that have been stripped of Internet Explorer 8 (IE8). A month ago, Microsoft decided to remove IE8 from Windows 7 in an effort to head off EU antitrust regulators, who may still force the company to take more drastic measures.

See also:

Windows 7 review