Microsoft has been forced to apologise for a tweet following Amy Winehouse’s death that was slammed as “crass”, “cheap” and “profiteering”.

"Remember Amy Winehouse by downloading the ground-breaking 'Back to Black' over at Zune," read a tweet from the account of Microsoft's Xbox game console after the death of the 27-year-old singer.

A barrage of criticism ensued on Twitter, slamming Microsoft for its tactless tweet.

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"Whoever is over @tweetbox360 is seriously a foolish tool with little or no PR clout," one follower wrote.

“Profiteering from Amy's death then?” wrote another.

Microsoft soon sprang into action with some damage limitation, tweeting:

“Apologies to everyone if our earlier Amy Winehouse 'download' tweet seemed purely commercially motivated," it said. "Far from the case, we assure you."

A second tweet followed, reading: "With Amy W's passing, the world has lost a huge talent. Our thoughts are with Amy's family and friends at this very sad time."

However, some Twitter followers have defended Microsoft.

“Why is @tweetbox360 apologizing for telling people to remember Amy Winehouse by listening to her music? She was a SINGER, after all!” said one.

Winehouse’s death this weekend sparked a surge in her music sales. Her 2006 album, Back To Black, climbed is topping the US and UK iTunes charts.

Meanwhile a US Republican congressman has been slammed for comparing the country’s debt crisis to the death of Amy Winehouse.

Missouri congressman Billy Long tweeted:

“No one could reach #AmyWinehouse before it was too late. Can anyone reach Washington before it's too late? Both addicted – same fate???”

Twitter soon bit back at Long, with one user writing:

“Oh I'm sry @auctnr1 did the autopsy rprt show #amywinehouse died b/c of addiction? It's not out yet so don't use some1 tragedy for ur gain.”