Y2 K Didn't Bug Small Biz

During the countdown to 2000, tech soothsayers bashed small businesses for largely ignoring the millennium computer bugs ostensibly lurking in their computers. (An estimated one-quarter of small companies chose to do nothing to fight Y2K, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.) So why was there such a smooth rollover to 2000, with scant reports of small-company computers going on the fritz? Turns out the Y2K brain trust missed some details: For one, many small companies--some 20%--don't even use computers. Of those that do, most use off-the-shelf software, which proves easier to fix than the custom code deployed inside corporations. What's more, the NFIB reported that 9 in 10 small companies upgraded critical systems over the past two years with Y2K-compliant gear. Says Dillon Jackson, a Seattle lawyer who studied the potential effects of Y2K: "This was a yawner." Small businesses, it seems, were rightfully resting easy from the get-go.

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