According to a story Thursday in PC World, computer security company Trend Micro will pay customers in Japan for the cost of repairing PCs after it delivered a flawed antivirus update over the weekend.
The report raises eyebrows because software companies generally have not compensated customers for glitchy products that cause problems on computers. Whether software providers should shell out money in those instances is an issue that has been debated for some time.
Mike Sweeny, spokesman for the Japan-based company in North America, said he could not confirm or deny the PC World report. He also declined to comment on whether Trend Micro would compensate customers in North America for computer repair costs resulting from the faulty software update.
Raimund Genes, president of Trend Micro for Europe, was a bit more forthcoming earlier this week when he spoke to News.com's sister site ZDNet UK. "We apologize to the people, and we are willing to compensate them for the extra work they had to do (on) their machines," Genes said. A Trend Micro spokeswoman later said that compensation claims would be assessed "on a case-by-case basis."
PC World's story said the flawed update "severely degraded PC performance for thousands of users worldwide." Sweeny said he could not provide an estimate on the number of customers harmed by the update. Those affected typically were running Windows XP SP2 and one of several Trend Micro software programs, including PC-cillin (known as VirusBuster in Japan) and OfficeScan, Sweeny said.
"Obviously something was awry in our development process and testing process," Sweeny said. He said the company is examining its product-development and delivery methods "to ensure a balance between timely updates and delivering the quality and stability our customers require."