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The Friday SMB wrap-up: A look back at the week gone by

Though it’s been a short week, there’s plenty of news coming out of the small business world, so here’s your weekly wrap-up of the most important headlines.

This week, Apple unveiled a range of new laptops and software, clothing retailers were urged to pick up their customer service game, and the most frequently hacked LinkedIn passwords were revealed.

Apple launches next-gen MacBook Pro, Air and OS X

Good news for Apple fans has come out of San Francisco, with the company unveiling its new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops, as well as the latest version of OS X Mountain Lion, which delivers iCloud integration and built- in social media functionality.

Revealed at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Apple CEO Tim Cook launched the company’s latest operating system, OS X Mountain Lion, which will see the replacement of previous programs and the introduction of over 100 new apps and features.

So, what does it all mean for Mac users?

The new in-built Notification Centre will work similarly to the iOS notification system on the iPhone and iPad, providing easy access to alerts from mail, calendar, messages, reminders, system updates and third party apps. Built-in social media features will provide users instant access, updates and notifications for sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

BMW, Sony top list of most reputable companies

A company’s image is more important than what it produces, or so says a recently released study which ranked BMW as the most reputable business in the world.

The third annual Global RepTrak 100 List by the Reputation Institute measured the reputations of the 100 most highly regarded companies across 15 countries including Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, UK and US.

The 10 companies with the best global reputations are:

1.      BMW
2.      SONY
3.      Walt Disney
4.      Daimler
5.      Apple
6.      Google
7.      Microsoft
8.      Volkswagen
9.      Canon
10.  LEGO Group

CEOs and entrepreneurs sleep rough for a good cause

CEOs and entrepreneurs across the country will soon experience homelessness in the midst of winter first hand, by taking part in the annual Vinnies CEO Sleepout. CatchOfTheDay co-founder Gabby Leibovich and Ruslan Kogan are throwing their weight behind the cause, auctioning off the chance to join them for dinner.

The charity event, which is held in capital cities across the nation, has attracted just over 1000 CEOs and aims to raise money and awareness around the growing issue of homelessness.

Ace Communications managing director Dale Munckton is participating in the Sleepout in Melbourne told Dynamic Business he believes initiatives such as these provide entrepreneurs and business owners with the opportunity to get involved with their community on a personal level.

30 most-hacked LinkedIn passwords revealed

Many of us have been guilty of using simple or obvious passwords at some time or another, but LinkedIn’s hacking should serve as a reminder of the importance of rethinking the security of our log-in information.

Following the recent hacking incident, where 6.46 million LinkedIn passwords were stolen and posted on a Russian hacker forum, security firm Rapid7 has revealed the top 30 most hacked passwords with the number one being “link” closely followed by “1234”.

There’s a growing trend for internet users to create passwords using simplistic passphrases or words associated with the site, Rapid7 said, with the company urging businesses to ban the use of bad and obvious passwords or risk putting their online security and that of their data at serious risk.

Focus on customer service or fail, retail expert warns

Clothing retailers are being urged to perk up their customer service or continue to experience gloom and doom when it comes to sales.

As the fashion sector continues to report low sales figures, specialty retailers are boasting the best customer service in the industry according to a Service Integrity study of 73,774 stores.

And lagging well behind are the fashion retailers, scoring the lowest ranking across all industries with a disappointing average score of 70 percent. The study also revealed clothing retailer’s lack of product knowledge has scored the sector a poor 63.8 percent, when specialty retailers scored an impressive 89 percent.

The study revealed the specialty sector’s stationery brand Kikki.K topped the best service list with an overall score of 86 percent.