Judging from surveys in the tech community, the major software push has been a success. The various flavors of Windows 8 have been quite stable, when compared to previous versions, and offer an impressive array of features.
Trouble is, Windows isn't being judged against preceding iterations. It's being judged against very impressive software platforms being offered by Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and others. As a result, the bean counters at Microsoft can no longer simply sit back and count the cash coming in from the regular Windows upgrade cycle it once enjoyed during the 1990s. In fact, there may not be much of an upgrade cycle at all -- at least according to short sellers.
Since early November, concerns have been growing that lofty expectations for Windows 8 won't be met. Short sellers have taken note: The short interest rose 11% to 110 million shares in just the two weeks ended Nov. 15 (data were released Nov. 27). It's worth noting that on Nov. 13, two days before the data were compiled, Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows division, was let go. It's unusual to see such a high level departure just weeks into a major new product launch.