DEFINITION of 'Bleeding Edge'

A product or service that is so new it has not been widely adopted by consumers and therefore carries a higher degree of uncertainty as to how it will fit in with existing goods and services.

Something described as bleeding edge would be considered more advanced than something considered "cutting edge". The higher degree in risk associated with the product or service means that the consumer might be "cut" by using such a new good if it fails to gain market acceptance. The term is often used to refer to new technology.

BREAKING DOWN 'Bleeding Edge'

For example, a new cell phone could be considered bleeding edge if it is the first of its kind. Consumers used to older cell phones will be uncertain as to how to use it, how it will be supported and what extra costs might be associated with using it.

Businesses that adopt bleeding edge technology that later becomes widely adopted may see an advantage from being a first-mover; however, if the bleeding edge technology is not widely-adopted the business will have spent significant resources on something that won't work. This presents businesses with a difficult choice: invest in bleeding edge technology that might ultimately fail, or don't invest and risk having obsolete technology if the bleeding edge technology becomes the industry standard.

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