DEFINITION of 'Osborning'

The act of introducing or announcing a future product before it is commercially available, thereby negatively impacting the sales and marketability of the products currently for sale by the same company. Osborning was coined after Osborne Computer Corporation took months to commercially release a product that they had pre-announced as being superior to current models. Customers lost interest in the current models, fearful of purchasing obsolete technology, and were inclined to wait for the new model. With the new model still in development, the company ran out of cash and went bankrupt.


The Osborne effect is the term that is used to explain the results of Osborning. The timing of product announcements and releases is important to the success of both current and future models. Osborning refers to companies that pre-announce superior products too early, steering customers away from soon-to-be outdated models but not providing the alternative, new model soon enough. This bad timing can soften current model orders but could also cause consumers to cancel current orders.