It’s something you hear in the voices of many IT people these days, particularly those in the Microsoft Partner world whose business was established on one primary vendor.

So I have a question for you: What would you do for a living if you lost your job?

Presumably, if you are reading this blog, you work as an information worker in some faucet of maintaining and managing IT.

I have been hearing these “woe is me” stories for a couple of months now. Yeah, there is growth out there but it just doesn’t seem to be enough for many that have seriously stepped up their marketing and services. Gain one client, lose two. Get some labor but lose a reoccurring service account. We can somewhat anecdotally match this up at OWN where the calls to buy ExchangeDefender direct and without going through a partner have skyrocketed. With record layoffs in the technology sector it’s not a good time to be a techie.

So why say depression? Because almost everyone I have talked to is pinning their hopes on the recovery in IT spending on Windows 7. It’s awesome! It’s faster and more stable than Vista. It finally let’s you use your computer and not have to constantly frustrate yourself with it. It also makes you obsolete.

We are on our way to New Orleans for Microsoft WPC where I believe Microsoft will announce a whole slew of “visionary” products (to them; they have already had all that Microsoft plans to announce in production at Apple, Zoho, Amazon and Yahoo for years) that come one step closer to Microsoft being a consumer company, not a technology burden company it is today.

Now, I know many will say that there are good odds Microsoft will mess this up, that there will still be a need for someone to manage complex technology, deal with migrations, that there will always be business.

And that’s given – despite urban planning there are still millions of septic tanks out there – and there will probably always be a need for that guy that attaches the hose and hits the suction switch. I just highly doubt that the guy sucking crap makes much above minimum wage. So perhaps we’ll always have the guy running around the office blowing dust out of the back of a power supply, or trying to figure out why the newest antivirus update got corrupted.

But much like his septic tank pumping pal, he won’t be making more than $30K.

Quick, how much do you think the Apple Geniuses and Apple store personnel make?

And that’s the cause for the depression in the SMB / MSP space, and why so many are working so hard to become more efficient consumer companies. Microsoft has the benefit of the size, but not the benefit of knowing how to run a service organization.

It will be interesting to see the post-carnage attendance at WPC and just what their business is focusing on. I can tell you from talking to my very successful partners that they aren’t doing what they were doing a year ago. (and they aren’t the bummed ones either) The big question is: What will they do next year?

Tune in for reports from WPC all this week. Should be a blast.

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