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Small Businesses Aren’t Going To Have It Easy With The Nearing Expiration Of Windows 7

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After January 14, 2020, support for Windows 7 will have ended and Microsoft will be halting the operating system’s free security updates and bug fixes. The updates, however, will be available to those willing to spend for the privilege after expiration. This Windows 7 Extended Security Update (ESU) program will be running through January 2023 after its official launch on December 2 this year.

Back in September 2018, Microsoft announced the availability of the Windows 7 ESU program to its most valuable customers, that being mammoth corporations, government agencies with volume licensing subscriptions, medium-sized businesses, and educational institutions with Windows 10 Enterprise or Education subscriptions. In October 2019, Microsoft then extended this program to all business sizes.

Thing is, small businesses and large organizations with active volume licensing contracts can keep using Windows 7. For the latter, a Multiple Activation Key (MAK) from the Volume Licensing Service Center can be downloaded and registered by installing a few servicing stack updates and using a command-line tool. This should deploy ESU to Windows 7 devices. For the former, however, Windows 7 ESUs have to be purchased via one of Microsoft’s partners in the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, and this is far more difficult than it appears to be.

If you’re like the majority to click on the official Microsoft website’s FAQs about Extended Security Updates for Windows 7, you will be presented with the Q&A below:

Who should I contact for more information about pricing and ordering for Windows 7 ESU?

VL customers: Please contact your Account Team CE for pricing and ordering information that is tailored to specific customer scenarios.

Customers who are interested in purchasing Windows 7 ESU in CSP should reach out to a CSP partner. You can find a qualified partner at this site.

Using the official link from the site, you will be taken to the Microsoft Solution Providers database where you will be asked to fill in your U.S. business location, the size of your workforce (one to nine employees), and, well, your “products, services, skills, industries, or organizations”. Indicating “Cloud Solution Provider” will bring you eight recommended consultancies with broad-based skill sets demanding high payouts for medium- and large-scale deployment and development tasks – a sure indication that they largely serve big guys with big bucks.

In Ed Bott’s experience, he chose the maximum of three providers, entered a description of what he needed, and provided his contact information before hitting ‘send’. Within 15 minutes, the response he received wasn’t what he hoped for because the “best match” for his request was apparently “unavailable”, followed by the same status for his “second-best match” 12 hours later.

After asking for help from two companies whom Bott already had an established reseller relationship with, a reply saying, “Unfortunately, you would need to reach out to a reseller to purchase this license. We’re not able to sell to an end user directly,” made it to his inbox hours later.

Bott has worked with Microsoft’s cloud partners in the past to know the process doesn’t follow a simple point-click-pay-activate procedure. First, an Azure Active Directory tenant has to be set up in creating a reseller relationship with a partner to allow their access to your Azure AD portal and have them fill your order.

This scenario can be confirmed by another reseller whom Bott contacted as they replied to his request saying,

“Hello,

We received your message regarding Windows 7.

We are Cloud Solution Provider and only provide licenses for customers who have a commercial account.

If you are interested in becoming a commercial customer of Microsoft please let us know.”

To buy a single, good-for-a-year product key that doesn’t require any deployment or support, this is an overview for small businesses that don’t enjoy a volume licensing contract (even if Microsoft has long ago allowed the purchase of Office 365, Microsoft 365, and other cloud-based services directly from the Office 365 portal).

After the Windows 7 support from Microsoft expires on January 14 next year, a full-screen warning will be delivered to all PCs still running Windows 7. Until then, Microsoft can make it informative for users to access the paid updates by adding an option to pay for the extended security updates to the pop-up notifications it has been sending out for several months now. At least this way, people can have it easy by knowing that the program is a dead-end and Windows 10 is a more secure option.

Ed Bott puts it, “It’s almost like Microsoft wants people to become discouraged and give up.”

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BigBusiness

How Climate Action Can Be Forced by 137 Million Americans That Own Stocks

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Climate change is coming sooner than later, which is why climate action is necessary to avoid problems to rise after. Here’s how owning stocks help us.

The US presidential elections are a few days away, and there is a possibility of a political solution that will resolve the climate crisis. Should the Biden administration get elected, they may provide us with climate legislation. However, no one has any guarantee of when that will happen and what the outcome will turn out to be. 

While we are under the current administration, the Department of Energy has settled with referring to natural gas as US freedom molecules. This not the introduction to carbon tax the Republicans are hoping for. 

So who can we turn to when it comes to immediate climate action? The corporations need to step up. We can see that some companies are jumping into action, like Beyond Petroleum, who is working on implementing their slogan. The company announced that they plan on cutting oil production to 40% in the following decade and expect to reach zero emissions by the year 2050.

It has joined hundreds of companies that are looking at science-based processes when it comes to cutting emissions. Nearly 300 companies that range from apparel to automotive to cutting their emissions to 35%, which is a great objective considering that these companies are responsible for having more emissions than Spain and France combined. 

For tech companies, they seem to be in an arms race for sustainability. In 2019, Amazon promised to purchase 100,000 electric delivery vans to go carbon neutral by the year 2040 and to reduce enough carbon to offset all its past emissions.  

Meanwhile, Microsoft is participating in Transform to Net Zero, which is a group of private companies that aim to achieve net-zero global emissions by no later than 2050.

The latest update for climate action has received both hopeful and cynical reactions—hope that the changes made by corporations can make a significant difference, but cynical about whether or not these commitments will be achieved. 

However, Americans who own stock have the capacity to force corporations to take their own step towards climate action. If the 137 million Americans that own stock can convince the corporations they own stock from to take these steps, you can ensure that the climate will improve overtime.

It’s normal to feel some skepticism towards the actions of the corporations as some companies share the lack of concern towards the climate, but with the help of shareholders and voters, they can force these corporations to provide tangible proof of their climate action. 

Their reward for this is that they can keep their shareholders because, at the end of the day, you can’t have shareholders if the world isn’t sustainable for living and that companies need shareholders to support their companies and products. 

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BigBusiness

White House: Facebook, Apple, Google Monopoly Is Getting Exposed

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The White House is looking into Facebook, Apple, and Google monopoly game, and is not looking good for the companies in question and other companies.

The House Judiciary Subcommittee that focuses on the Anti-Trust, Commercial, and Administrative Law began an investigation on Facebook, Apple, Google, and Amazon—the four major companies.

The subcommittee aims to answer the question of whether Big Tech gained their success by following the rules or did it stay on top of its game by bending the rules. After 16 months of research, hearings, and analysis, the results don’t look ideal for the companies involved. 

From the looks of it, the tech sector does show an abuse of “monopoly power,” which the subcommittee concluded in their 450-page report, which they submitted previously.

What Is the Current Problem?

Congress is not looking into the companies for monopoly abuse, as this is something that happens when a company this big is in the business. They are more concerned with what they do to stay on top that concerns the subcommittee. 

If the company has 90% of the market that was earned through natural growth and you deal with other companies and consumers fairly, then the anti-trust committee will leave you alone; however, if they notice that you used your size to knock small businesses out of the scene before they get a chance to compete, or have competitors that have proof that you’ve been leveraging parts of your platform fraudulently, then you will have a problem. 

Dividing the Four Companies

  • Apple – The App Store

Apple doesn’t have a monopolistic hold over the smartphone sector, but it does have control over what you can do with their iPhone. This is because you can only install apps through the Apple app store, and Apple controls which apps you can download through there.

  • Amazon

Amazon is a company that controls over 50% of the US e-commerce market, and even more in other sectors. This company abuses monopoly power by leveraging its control over both the customers and the sellers and pushing favorable terms in negotiations that are unfair.

  • Facebook

It’s without a doubt that Facebook has monopoly power over social networking, and it is unlikely that any social platform is going to take the power away from them.

  • Google

Google has been the top search engine for 20 years. The company has changed its values from ranking results based on what’s best for Google to preferring its own websites and giving more space for ads.

Do you actively browse or participate with any of the ads involved? If you do, stay tuned for an update on the White House: Facebook, Apple, Google Monopoly investigation. If you are an aspiring app developer that wants to make it in the business, read up on how you can grow your consumers organically and work on that.

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BigBusiness

American Cloud Platform Giant, IBM, Splitting up in 2021

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American Cloud Platform Giant, IBM, is splitting up to have two more focused infrastructures in 2021. Let us look at the implications of this strategic move and how this affects IBM’s long-term strategy.

IBM is one of the biggest cloud platforms in the United States that offers cognitive solutions that focus on marketing and selling hardware, middleware, and software products. Its product portfolio also includes hosting and consulting services from mainframe computers to nanotechnology. Through the years, IBM has reinvented itself and proved its adaptive capabilities by changing its product portfolio as technology becomes more intuitive and innovative. Here are some of its previous product range:

  • In 1991, the printer and keyboard manufacturing process merged with Lexmark
  • In 2005 and 2014, IBM sold its ThinkPad and ThinkCentre products to Lenovo
  • In 2015, IBM adopted a Fabless model and offloaded the manufacturing design component to Global Foundries
  • From 2002 to 2019, IBM acquired PwC consulting, SPSS, The Weather Company, and Red Hat.

IBM is considered one of the biggest companies in its industry line, with over 350,000 employees as of 2019. They are considered a global group with the US, and India has the biggest bases in the employee workforce. 

The Big Split: IBM Splitting Up in 2021

The NewCo

At last October 10, 2020, IBM announced a spin-off where the new company will focus on higher-margin cloud services. During an interview, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna mentioned a significant shift in how IBM usually operated but emphasized that this is a needed move for their long-term strategy. He further reiterated that one of IBM’s strength is its adaptability in the face of the fast-paced environment of technology, and this is one of the ways to strengthen IBM’s portfolio.

The Vision of NewCo

IBM’s vision for NewCo is that this new division will focus on its open hybrid cloud platform, which can grow to a $ 1 trillion market opportunity. This will then launch IBM into even greater heights as the world’s leading managed infrastructure service provider. To summarize, IBM’s focus will be technology and platform innovation and digital transformations specific for cloud and cognitive software, global business services, global financing systems, and IBM Public cloud service. 

The projected revenue for IBM alone is $59 billion. NewCo, on the other hand, focuses on IT infrastructure modernization, specifically for the managed infrastructure service business of the global technology service segment with projected revenue of around $19 billion. 

IBM’s capital structure is expected to maintain a single A credit rating, while NewCo’s capital structure targets an investment-grade credit rating. The dividend policy for both companies is expected to be no less than IBM’s pre-spin dividend per share, and that the relationship between both companies is expected to be strong and strategic, which mutually influences each other. 

Because of IBM’s admittedly risky yet strategic move, investors are knocking on its doors with IBM stock up 7% as of October 12 since the press release. 

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