Software failures

Software Failures of 2014: Retail Edition

These days, the vast majority of a consumer’s interaction with a company or brand is exclusively through their software, and the impression that software leaves when it fails or succeeds in doing its job. It is for this reason that Theresa Lanowitz, Founder and Analyst for voke, inc. states that “Testers are the brand protectors of an organization”.

At Tricentis, we believe that truer words were never spoken. The way we see it, the better the testing, the more refined and perfected the product becomes. In turn, a perfected product will make a great impression on the consumer, and thus, win another champion for the brand. Unfortunately however, this isn’t always how the story goes. The year 2014 produced a range of dramatic software failures – from the Finance industry, to Government, Transportation, and Entertainment. Today however, we take a look at the retail industry.

The most obviously software dependent industry is that of technology retail. Companies like Apple and Samsung have shaped themselves into household names based off their ability to deliver slick software and devices that redefine how society interacts with technology and each other. Given the high expectations accompanying each new release, it is no surprise that some of the products fail to deliver. Cringe worthy though some of the stories are, one thing it does prove: software testing will never go out of style.

Anesthesia Machine Recalled Due to Software Malfunction

Safety Officials issued a recall this past April on a line of anesthesia machines that were found to have a deadly malfunction. The software on the anesthesia machines reportedly had a flaw that, connecting to the ventilator, could cause the device to shut down during use and cut off anesthesia and oxygen supply to the patients. Thankfully no deaths have been reported as a result of this software flaw, though one case of the machine shutting down during use has been reported. Source.

Samsung Admits to Serious Software Problem with Galaxy S5 Phones

Reports began circulating on online developer forums regarding a bug in the camera application of Samsung’s Galaxy S5 phones this past April. The bug consisted of a pop-up message stating “Warning: Camera Failed” upon opening the camera app, which many users on the developer forum attempted to fix. In the end Samsung issued a recall of the phone to all users affected by the issue, giving a clue as to just how fundamental the software error was.

Nest Recalls Thousands of Smoke Alarms Affected by Software Glitch

Though Nest may take issue with using the word “recall”, the fault found in the Nest Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detector is deadly serious. The company issued a safety warning and software update to the device owners after discovering a software glitch that could prevent the detector from alerting to the presence of smoke or carbon monoxide. Though Nest has declared that the software update will make the device safe to use, they are still quietly taking precautions, having placed all sales of the device on hold and stating a timeline of “2-3 months” for the glitch to be fully resolved. Source.

LG G3 Android Phone Affected by Mysterious Software Bug

Users of the Android LG G3 phone reported a software malfunction that caused their phones to spontaneously and inexplicably shut down. While a workaround has been implemented that can abet the situation, the root cause of the error was still unknown as of this past July. According to reports, the phone was liable to shut down in full “off mode” regardless of the use of the phone, its battery life, memory usage, or other possible factors.

Microsoft Issues Second Patch For Windows After First Fix Cripples PCs

Microsoft released a security update this past August that crippled the PCs of the users who installed the patch. Less than a day after the patch had been publicly released, reports came flooding in of users being stonewalled out of their PC’s, unable to reboot, and facing the “blue screen of death”. Within three days Microsoft quietly issued an advisory to de-install a component of the patch, and later re-released the fix. Unfortunately for Microsoft users however, the new fix poses a catch-22: the newest patch cannot be installed until the old is uninstalled, which won’t happen unless the computer can be rebooted. Source.

Apple IPhone 6 Plagued by Software and Hardware Issues

In 2014 Apple faced one of their first hardware debacles with the “amazing bendable iPhone 6”, as well as a market share drop that cost the company billions. Aside from iPhone 6 users reported the phone bending in their pockets, the phone was also plagued with software issues that blocked users from making calls and caused problems with the fingerprint security system. As a result of the news, Apple’s shares dropped by 4%, a market loss of nearly 23 billion dollars. Apple worked quickly to issue a new update that resolved the software problems, however there is little they can do to rescue the bendable iPhone 6 from the joke it became. Source.

Apple Pay Malfunction Causes Users to be Double-Charged for Transactions

As Apple rolled out their Apple Pay function, Apple die-hards rushed to begin making any and all purchases with the new app. Reports soon began to circulate on Twitter that Apple Pay was double charging for transactions – a potentially disastrous strain on anyone’s bank account. After further investigations it was discovered that only Bank of America was being affected, and are now working with Apple to find a solution.

Motorola’s Nexus 6 Plagued by Debilitating Software Bug

AT&T opted to return all of the Nexus 6 phones to Motorola to fix a software bug that renders the phone useless. According to user reports, the error causes the screen to go black and shut off, blocking the user from doing anything further with the phone. AT&T customers already had several existing complaints with the Nexus 6, though this bug, which Motorola has since identified and fixed, may have been the final nail in the coffin for the phone. Source.

Electronics Ebay Store Software Bug Causes All Electronics to be Incorrectly Priced

The Ebay electronics store experienced a catastrophic software glitch this past December that delighted shoppers.The glitch occurred in the early morning of December 9th, marking down all of the items – everything from tablets to refrigerators, to the price of €5.99.  By the next day the faulty prices had been removed and sales placed on hold, but not before several hot items, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, had sold out. Source.

Amazon U.K. Software Issue Mistakenly Prices Vendor’s Goods for $0.01

Right around the same time as the Ebay Notebooksbilliger debacle, Amazon U.K. had a software meltdown of a similar nature. The software error resulted in thousands of third party vendor’s goods being marked down to the ludicrously low price of $0.01. Causing further anger to the vendors, the seller fees were not affected by the glitch, meaning the vendors were paying Amazon to sell their products for near-free. While the error was quickly caught and rectified, many of orders had already been filled due to Amazon’s factory hub shipping system, and it is questionable whether vendors will receive back their lost profits.

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Tricentis Tosca specializes in enabling large enterprises to improve the quality of their applications by equipping them to optimize, manage, and automate their software testing.