DEFINITION of 'Killer Application'

A software package that is novel and desirable enough to persuade a consumer to buy pricier hardware in order to run the application. The term "killer application" may be derived from the fact that such an application is perceived to be innovative enough to overcome the competition.

Better known as "killer app."

BREAKING DOWN 'Killer Application'

Word-processing software and spreadsheets were widely considered to be the killer apps of the 1980s, when personal computers started getting popular. Similarly, Internet browsers and webmail were the killer apps that fueled the online and dotcom boom of the 1990s.

Killer apps are instrumental in driving rapid growth in sales of the platform on which they are based. While some companies that develop killer apps can enjoy substantial margins and profits for many years, this competitive advantage does not last for long for most companies in the dynamic world of technology, where short product life cycles are the norm rather than the exception.

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