Microsoft has been in the software game long enough to know that when you're announcing a release as big as an operating system to millions of itchy-fingered techies, you release it when you say you will and you have the foresight to get your servers in a row.
Yet, the general release of the much-anticipated Windows 7 beta is overdue by hours, Microsoft having first posted the files late, and then pulled them when servers buckled under the traffic. What's left now is a sort-of apologetic, but mostly noncommittal notice that there's no estimated arrival time for the download links, and a lot of angry people disappointed in Redmond once again.
A Microsoft PR representative I got hold of on the Consumer Electronics Show floor had no additional insight.
Lifehacker posted direct download links earlier Friday for your 32- and 64-bit PCs, with a few cursory instructions for installing the ISO files. We'll also host the Windows 7 beta files when we get them, on CNET Download.com.