Software Bugs Leave Microsoft Legally Vulnerable

Mark Rasch, a computer and internet policy lawyer, sees legal trouble looming on the horizon for software companies who distribute software with known flaws. When you think of major software companies who routinely do just that, no name comes up faster than Microsoft. He explains his deduction in a Reuters article via USATODAY.com.

"Theyive got such a huge market penetration. Theyire a huge, deep pocket. Their software has a lot of vulnerabilities and defects in it and people tend to use a whole suite of their software," Rasch said.

"It is the homogeneity of the environment that means that a particular vulnerability in one piece of software can expose a company to a lot of damages," he said. "So Microsoft is target No. 1 for this potential litigation."

Microsoft counters this assertion by claiming that they are only being singled out because of their immense popularity and that their software is even less buggy than others. They also try to shed responsibility by pointing out the interconnectivity of modern systems and the fact that they donit create every piece of software that will interact with their software. According to Microsoft Chief Technical Officer Craig Mundie:

"Society has benefited from high-volume, low-cost software and a rapidly evolving ecosystem" where disparate computer systems, software and hardware link up, Mundie said. "Microsoft canit control that process. If the printer driver tanks the system, who do you hold liable?"

Rasch isnit the only person concerned with the continuing trend of buggy software. Microsoft clients are speaking out in increasing numbers. Many cite costs of continuous bug fixes and also confusion over how they cannot be held accountable for releasing a product that they know to be defective.

"Itis a confusing point to me that Microsoft can release a product which has fundamental flaws and theyire in no way held accountable for that," said Tim Wright, chief technology officer and chief information officer of Terra Lycos.

The article finishes with the interesting question of why software isnit held to the same standards as other consumer products such as tires or aircraft.

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