The folks at ReadWriteWeb have found a tie breaker: Merle McIntosh, Newegg's Product Management chief for North America. McIntosh spoke to the site on record, and his take seems to lend weight to the rumor mongers. See for yourself:
"On the software side it has been slow going, and I think it will be that way until the pricing normalizes sometime next year," McIntosh said, declining to provide actual sales numbers. "But on the hardware side, we're starting to see some slow but steady increases in notebooks, and as the tablets become available, we're starting to see some good sides of the tablet part of the equation as well."To be entirely fair, Ballmer was touting early adoption from enthusiasts—and I expect most PC enthusiasts bought their Windows 8 upgrades straight from Microsoft, not in retail-boxed form at Newegg. Buying direct from Microsoft isn't just quicker; it's cheaper, too: $39.99 instead of $69.99 for a retail copy.
Nevertheless, McIntosh says Newegg and its partners planned for an "explosion" at the Windows 8 launch, despite internal doubts about just show successful Windows 8 would prove internally. And the doubters turned out to be right. "[Windows 8] did not explode, as I think you know, coming out of the gate," says McIntosh.
Despite the apparently sluggish adoption, McIntosh seems enthusiastic about Windows 8. It's just a matter of patience. His take: we'll have to wait until next Spring before the new operating system "really gets some momentum."