In 2002, it was estimated that Software errors cost the U.S. Economy $59.5 Billion Annually. I don’t have the latest figures but it can’t be lower especially considering the acceleration of software usage the past 8 years across new devices. It happened to Google last year and yesterday it was McAfee. I don’t know how much the latest McAfee update ,5958 DAT, is going to cost overall but it can’t be good. Shortly after releasing it yesterday, users all over the world started to experienced the dreadful Blue Screen of Death (BSoD). svchost.exe was detected as malign, deleted, causing reboot and .. frustration.
Barry McPherson, executive VP has tried to do some damage control on their blog but he opened the door to very angry customers
“Serious?! Why not just admit the f’up and say you’re sorry?”
“Your “quality testing” has lost my company thousands of hours of productivity.”
“This problem put our company out of business for 4 hours today.”
“Good timing because we will definitely NOT renew our corporate license.”
And it goes on and on. Since then Barry has responded to the comments (A long day at McAfee) but I’m not sure it will calm those angry customers. When you’re such a visible company, I’m not sure there is much you can do on the PR side. In any case, the stock is actually holding pretty well which is surprising.
For those breathing software testing you probably realize that this problem should have been detected by a simple smoke test. This is not a tricky situation or a corner case. It is a new update for an up to date version of their software running on a fairly popular platform (Windows XP SP3). This environment should be one of their base environment for testing as a majority of business are still running XP. I’m confident the actual test exists but it hasn’t been ran, or no one checked the results of the test (which is surprising since you end up with a blue screen. It’s a bit difficult to ignore). Or it is a political plot against the QA Team !!
The good news is that this bug will only cost money and not life (which is the case with the 10 historical bugs with extreme consequences). But it will probably cost the professional head of a few people at McAfee.
I personally use Avast on all of my computers and never had an issue !