Roll of dishonor: Worst software failures of 2010

And worst wireless products too

By Maxwell Cooter, Techworld |  Software, bad software, software

While the end of the year is seen as a chance to compile the best of the year lists, it's also seen as an opportunity to recall the year's howlers too.

Software quality testing company, SQS and analyst and research firm, Ovum are clearly not feeling any Christmas goodwill and have highlighted examples of major software failures in 2010 and the year's worst mobile products, what Ovum called The Wireless Turkeys.

Most IT managers would have an idea of any real howlers that had bugged them but SQS came up with a catalogue of total disaster that would have had software developers banging their heads with frustration.

Top of the SQS list were the software failures that heralded car brake failures at Toyota and BMW, ultimately leading to the recall of thousands of models. The testing company also highlighted software failure at the UK's organ registry when several organs were removed in error

The software glitch that delayed the launch of a new trading system at the London Stock Exchange also figures prominently,as did the software problem that kept 10,000 GPS receivers dark for two weeks.

The SQS list also highlighted the failures with the HMRC online tax return system that prevented many tax-payers making online returns, although, that is a glitch that could have made the list several times in the last decade.

The Ovum list of dodgy wireless products was shorter but contained some goodies. The worst tablet according to Ovum was the Android tablet launched by fashion retailer Next. "Described by the BBC's technology correspondent as 'maddeningly unresponsive', the Next tablet undoubtedly deserves its place at the Ovum Christmas table this year," said Emeka Obiodu., Ovum's senior wireless analyst. "However, as quality in the segment improves we expect consumers to increasingly question whether 'premium' tablets are worth the mark up over their low-born counterparts."

The worst app was the one that allowed the user to download speeches by Mussolini - an app that made a brief appearance. "the developer of the iMussolini app has removed it. In any case, our votes went for iMussolini for its blatant crassness and lack of sensitivity," said Obiodu.

Prize for the world's worst service went to AwesomenessReminders, a $45 per month subscription service where a real person the subscriber every day to tell him or her how awesome he or she is. "Offering such a service is wacky on its own; offering it for $45 a month beggars belief," said Obiodu.

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