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Motorola delays Moto X Cyber Monday deal after site crash

The Moto Maker customization tool collapses under a crush of shoppers seeking a $150 off-contract discount. Motorola announces new sales dates to make up for the snafu.

CBS Interactive

Motorola Mobility was forced to postpone its Cyber Monday Moto X deal after perspective shoppers overwhelmed the purchase page.

The handset maker planned to offer a limited number of online shoppers the opportunity to purchase the new smartphone off-contract at a $150 discount. But the crush of consumers quickly rendered the MotoMaker customization site largely unusable, preventing many shoppers from taking advantage of the deal.

Motorola Chief Executive Dennis Woodside apologized for the outage:

Here is what we are going to do: Starting at 12 pm EST/9 am PST this Wednesday, we will relaunch the $349 promotion. To help make up for this major inconvenience to shoppers, we will also add an additional promotional day on Monday, December 9. We will double the quantity of phones available, while supplies last, to allow as many people as possible to take advantage of the promotion. We're also extending the 30-percent-off offer on accessories to these two days....

On behalf of all Motorolans, I apologize for what occurred today. I appreciate your understanding as we get this fixed in time for Wednesday and Monday.

An hour after the door-buster was scheduled to land, Motorola acknowledged via Twitter that its Web site was experiencing uptime issues and begged for patience:

"We're currently restoring online services. Some may have site-access, but Cyber Monday deal prices won't begin until all systems are a go," the company said in another tweet.

The issues persisted throughout the day, with Motorola hoping to have site access restored by 9:30 p.m. ET. If the site was not up by that time, Motorola promised to reschedule the offering for Wednesday and December 9 and double the number of handsets offered in the deal.

It missed that deadline and tweeted that shoppers will now have two opportunities to snag the deal.

Motorola released the Moto X in August, and it arguably sits at the top end of the company's smartphone line. The company is trying to distinguish this handset by offering an online tool that allows shoppers to customize its appearance. The smartphone also comes with several interesting features, including a shake-to-camera option.

Woodside said two problems were responsible for the outage:

First, we misjudged the overwhelming consumer demand for Moto X, which was far greater than we expected.

Second, our pre-sale site testing was not sufficiently extensive. Testing failed to reveal weaknesses caused by large volumes of concurrent orders flowing through the MotoMaker customization engine.

Thus, when we opened the promotion this morning, an extraordinary spike in concurrent orders caused our Web site to go down. We couldn't fulfill orders. The site became unstable. While some orders were filled, many customers tried all day to place their orders, unsuccessfully. Customers were left frustrated.

Motorola also has announced the less expensive Moto G, which will cost $179 for an 8GB model with no carrier subscription. Google, Motorola's parent company, also is trying to push the idea of unlocked, off-contract phones, most notably with the $349 Nexus 5 built by LG Electronics.

Now playing: Watch this: Motorola's Moto X targets the masses

Updated at 1:06 a.m. PT December 3 to include apology from Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside.

(Via The Verge)