Washington (July 15, 2002) -- Software bugs cost the US economy about $59.5 billion a year, with more than half of that borne by software users, and the remainder paid by vendors and developers, according to new research.

The study, funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology, also found that about $22 billion of the costs could be eliminated with improved testing infrastructures that provide earlier identification. "Currently, over half of all errors are not found until 'downstream' in the development process or during post-sale software use," NIST said.

Software's growing complexity is the main culprit, according to NIST, which notes that products "are no longer measured in thousands of lines of code, but in millions." The study, conducted for NIST by Research Triangle Institute in Research Triangle Park, N.C., covered software activities in several major industries, with a focus on automotive and aerospace equipment manufacturers, and financial services providers.

The study predicts that the worldwide market for software testing tools will grow to $2.6 billion in 2004 from $931 million in 1999. The report, "The Economic Impacts of Inadequate Infrastructure for Software Testing," can be obtained from http://www.nist.gov/director/prog-ofc/report02-3.pdf .

-- Electronic Accountant Newswire staff

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