Software, unlike most physical products you can buy, is sold with as few warranties as the vendor can get away with. As a developer, this seems very reasonable considering the quality of almost all software I've ever used - Think anything from unintuitive idioms, via undocumented features, irreproducibility, missing handling of concurrency, double escaping of user input, and floating point numbers where decimals would avoid long-term build-up of errors, to plain crashing bugs where the production database is corrupted and the equivalent of several hirings in the affected company are wasted on recovery and reactionary implementation of safety measures. It's a bit like building skyscrapers out of straw and nitroglycerin, hoping it will survive until the time when it's someone else's problem or it's replaced entirely.
In such a situation, I hypothesize that a company which trusts their software enough to provide even minor warranties for damages incurred would (if their software was up to the task) gain an enormous advantage in user trust, and could put Google, Microsoft and Apple to shame for quality software and hoarding of money and talent.
I'm not familiar with the current status of software verification and requirements gathering research, so I don't know whether this possibility is just around the corner or whether we are hacking at the mountain with toothpicks. Certainly the existence of any serious company or organization at all providing such warranties or even working on guidelines for warranties would be extremely interesting to follow, as both a developer and user.
Therefore: Are there any international guidelines for providing software warranties?
- If all the tests succeed, as long as the system stays in a defined state, the warranty covers the cost of recovery in case of data loss.
- As long as [some widely recognized set of security guidelines] are followed, the data handled by the system will not be readable by third parties. The warranty could cover anything from the price of the software to the legal costs of handling privacy-related lawsuits or more.