The effects of software bugs can land anywhere on a scale from annoying to deadly. In 1994, in Scotland, 29 passengers were killed during the crash of a Chinook helicopter. This crash was later discovered to be caused by a software bug that hadn’t been detected. With our ever-increasing dependency on software, it has become imperative to properly test your software in order to avoid what could be devastating consequences.

It is estimated that the American government spends over 60 billion dollars a year on damages caused by software bugs. Researchers speculate that proper software testing could lessen this national cost by almost 22 billion dollars. This lesson can be applied at every level of software integration – saving national governments billions or small businesses hundreds or thousands. The bottom line is that it is far more costly to recover from the damages of a software bug malfunction than to have it tested properly in order to reduce the possibility of unforeseen damages.

Even the giants of the tech industry are not immune to bugs infecting their software. What follows are some of the most prominent software bug incidents in the tech industry over the past 20 years:

  1. 2012: Apple Maps
    Did you know that Auckland, New Zealand’s main train station is in the middle of the ocean? Well, not quite, only according to Apple Maps it was. When Apple tried to compete with Google by removing Google Maps from the iPhone and replacing it with Apple Maps, which Apple had written itself, there were many significant errors. For example, in Washington DC, the Washington Monument was moved across the street. Creating a mapping app requires the integration of various photos and data from a vast range of sources. Cross referencing these data points in order to create a reliable map requires thousands of man hours as well. Apple has spent years putting in the time to improve and test its map.
  2. 2007: Windows Software
    For nearly an entire day on August 24, 2007, Windows was greeting its new software downloaders with an accusation that they were pirates and that they were downloading illegal software. This software bug infection was caused by human error when someone accidentally installed a bugged version of Genuine Advantage software onto the Microsoft server.
  3. 1998: Mars Climate Orbiter
    After making the long, lonely journey through space, the Mars Climate Orbiter hovered over the Red Planet eager to rest its metal feet on alien soil. However, the software that calculated the thruster output had been calculating thrust in pound-seconds instead of Newton-seconds. The result was a crash landing that burned up the $655 million dollar robotic space probe. A costly error for NASA, indeed.

If the big tech industries can release and use software with bugs, it is very possible for much smaller businesses and users to do the same. It is vitally important for there to be a commitment to software testing by a inhouse team or outsourcing it to professionals like QA Consultants in order to save money and at the same time to produce results worthy of investment.

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