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“Strange” Move? Microsoft Is Re-Releasing Windows 1.0…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

By July 8, 2019No Comments

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1  — Microsoft’s baffling new launch: ‘all-new’ Windows 1.0 with MS-Dos Executive

Microsoft baffled and intrigued Twitter followers this week announcing an “all-new” Windows 1.0 from 1985. The company hasn’t yet explained the meaning behind the tweeted video, and the only clue they are offering is that they will introduce the “all-new Windows 1.0, with MS-Dos Executive, Clock, and more.” Assuming that the announcement is not simply a joke, it’s possible that Microsoft is planning to release Windows 1.0 in some new form. Experts are guessing that Microsoft may be planning to open-source Windows 1.0, the same way it’s done with MS-DOS and the Windows Calculator app. (Source: ZD Net)

Why this is important for your business:

 Don’t panic, friends. According to a report on On MSFT this is likely just a cross-promotional ad for Netflix’s Stranger Things 3 (and my friends are telling me it’s the best season ever?), which his set in 1985 – the same year Windows 1.0 came out.  Then again, knowing what I know about Microsoft (my firm is a partner), stranger things have happened before.

2 — Walmart’s using VR to help decide who should get a promotion

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Walmart is using virtual reality to assist finding candidates for their management positions throughout all of their 4,600 stores. The VR assessment allows evaluation of things that are difficult to identify in interviews, such as seeing how workers respond to difficult situations and the way that employees prioritize tasks. A Walmart spokesperson explained that VR is not being used to demote people, but that it’s only being used for specific roles throughout the company as one data point of many when considering who to promote. This approach is part of an initiative to identify high performers while cutting back on the number of mangers. (Source: Fast Company)

Why this is important for your business:

Virtual reality and machine based learning is slowly but surely working its way into a lot of human resources applications, including hiring and promotions. Many of these apps are still in their early days and at a price point that would exclude most small businesses. But as they mature I’m sure we’ll all be taking advantage.

3 — Kabbage secures $200M to fuel its AI-based loans platform for small businesses

After securing $700 million three months ago, Atlanta startup, Kabbage, which is an AI-based small business loans platform, has secured an additional $200 million. Kabbage loans up to $250,00 in a single deal to both small and medium businesses and uses indicators from a company’s own public activities as well as pulling comparative information from across a wider group of similar companies. This approach helps Kabbage determine whether to provide loans to the businesses and, if so, at what rates. (Source: Tech Crunch)

Why this is important for your business:

Kabbage has been a long-time player in online loans and alternative financing and it’s not surprising that the company is using AI to make faster and smarter decisions. Thanks to this technology, the entire loan application process only takes a few minutes, effectively disrupting the traditional approach businesses have had to take in the past of applying for loans from banks, which typically takes longer and can come at higher rates.

4 — Visa, PayPal launch instant transfers to consumers, small businesses in Canada

Instant Transfer, a new feature announced by Visa this week, allows consumers and small businesses to get immediate access to funds. The new feature is being rolled out in Canada with PayPal. Backed by Visa Direct push payments technology, the feature will allow customers to move funds from their PayPal accounts to their bank accounts through a Visa debit card. (Source: Mobile Payments Today)

Why this is important for your business:

Visa has shared that they want to empower small businesses and consumers to have the ability to move their money where, when, and how they choose. Instant Transfer is currently available to select PayPal small business customers in Canada, and a wider release is planned for the next few months.

5 — A Florida city fires IT employee after paying ransom demand last week

An IT employee in Lake City, Florida, was fired last week after the city was forced to approve a nearly $500,000 ransomware payment. On June 10th, Lake City’s IT network was infected with malware after an employee opened a document they received via email. The email infected the city’s network with the Emotet Trojan, which then downloaded the TrickBot Trojan, and, finally, Ryuk ransomware. The ransomware then spread to the city’s entire IT network and encrypted files. Hackers then demanded a ransom to let the city regain access to their systems. The City’s IT manager is planning to revamp the town’s entire IT department in order to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. (Source: ZD Net)

Why this is important for your business:

Would you fire you’re an employee just because he or she inadvertently opened a document that made your company the victim of a ransomware attack? Seems pretty harsh, but  I suspect there’s more to this story. The issue, however,  is important – most studies show that the majority of malware attacks are caused by employee – and our – error. Good training and backup systems are probably a better response than firing someone.

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