Why will "meh" be the worst possible outcome? Because it would leave Microsoft's biggest OEMs, Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) and Dell ( DELL), vulnerable to Chinese competitors such as Lenovo that can better handle today's value pricing.

It would prevent these American companies from gaining a toehold in the tablet market. Something has to change, in other words, or Microsoft's whole ecosystem, including Nokia, goes down in flames.

Mace wrote in his blog post that he did a search comparing "I hate Windows 8" and "I love Windows 8."

Hate outran love by 3-1.

But my own Googlefight on those same two terms showed love outrunning hate by nearly 30-1, and a straight comparison of the terms on Google.com had love outrunning hate 15-1. (Mace later wrote to say he got it wrong.)

But we don't really know. Microsoft is doing a slow, controlled rollout, and the current view may be down to PR -- it may all be marketing hype. We won't know the result of all this until the fall, after the software is officially released.

Microsoft has been a sort of widows-and-orphans stock for a decade, bouncing between $25 and $30 a share. Those days are ending. It will either rise or fall with Metro. Which way will it go? Your guess is as good as mine.

At the time of publication, Blankenhorn held shares of Microsoft, Apple and Google.

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