A Tax on Software Bugs?

How expensive might software become if one proposal to tax software bugs happens.

Geeknomics author and Apple’s new head of global security David Rice, has recently floated an idea to tax software bugs. According to Computer World, instead of consumers bearing the burden with shoddy, insecure software, the burden should shift to the manufacturers.
Software bug
According to the magazine, “If security related vulnerabilities were somehow taxed, the cost burden would be shifted more from the consumer of software to the software manufacturer.”

So, how can software companies ensure quality releases?

But, what’s the incentive for preventing software bugs, when it may lead to higher up-front costs – even if the overall, long-term cost is less.

In addition to the software tax, some other ideas, for rewarding well-engineered software include:

  • A 5 star security rating, to help software buyers understand the implication of an application through third-party evaluation. “The idea is to give consumers the information they need to make better decisions. This would improve the efficiency of the market for software,” says Josh Corman, research director at the 451 Group’s enterprise security practice. “People today, generally, have no idea how to judge the quality of software as it relates to security. Such information would provide the clarity a market needs to function,” he says.
  • Liability and tort reform, to make it easier to sue software makers for the damages created by faulty software. The goal is to shift the costs of shoddy software from the consumer to the manufacturer
  • Software recalls: if the faults are dangerous enough, recalling shoddy software may be a way to help reduce software bugs. However, many recalls, such as car recalls, often already occur due to software faults.

Of course, we think the best way to prevent software bugs is through unit testing with Isolator V7. Isolator V7 is the only unit testing framework that identifies not only failed tests but actually pinpoints the location of the bugs. Have you tried it out yet – ? Claim your FREE trial now.

What do you think? How can software developers have incentives to minimize bugs?