Over two thirds of shrink-wrapped software has some sort of year 2000-related problem and some popular packages will not work at all on the strike of midnight 31 December 1999, according to research published last week.
But the report, from consultancy Greenwich Mean Time and the government-appointed Taskforce 2000 group, shows that 28% of these flawed packages are claimed to be year 2000 compliant by their manufacturers.
The report defined eight different year 2000 problems including complete breakdown and non-recognition of 2000 as a leap year, therefore creating day of the week errors from February 2000 onwards.
Karl Feilder, CEO of Greenwich Mean Time, said most of the programs he had checked displayed more than one category of year 2000 issue.
"Since PCs have taken over mission critical roles previously performed only by mainframes, the manufacturers of PCs and related software are putting the mission critical applications of their customers at great risk."
In order for users to make thorough checks, Feilder called for manufacturers of the programs which will not function in the year 2000 to go public, preferably by contacting existing users directly. He said manufacturers also should publish the date assumptions on which their programs are based, so that users know how their software will react.
Some manufacturers are now coming up with fully 2000 compliant versions of their software, but customers are paying the price. Perhaps the same rules for purchasing other goods should apply to this software - if it's faulty you get a replacement or your money back.
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