Millennium Bug Watch

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The Independent Online
IT HAS begun. The legal wrangling, that is, over exactly who is responsible when problems occur, or look like they are going to. Bothcases here are from the United States, but it is only a matter of time before such legal resorts cross the Atlantic.

First, Ruth Kaczmarek, an independent programmer who develops products that use Microsoft's Foxpro database, is suing the software giant, claiming it provided a package called Visual Foxpro 6.0, despite knowing it has a glitch. On Microsoft's own Year 2000 page it is made plain that the program assumes two-digit year dates are in the 20th century.

Ms Kaczmarek wants Microsoft to write a "patch" but Microsoft doesn't.

Meanwhile, consulting firm Arthur Andersen is suing one of its customers, retailing company J Baker, which had the cheek to demand a free upgrade for a sales system Andersen's had supplied. Andersen claims in its suit that J Baker knew the system relied on a two-digit date system.

Is this sounding familiar?

Charles Arthur

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