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definition of "Killer Application"

In a recent thread a poster used the term "Killer Application" to indicate a really great application.  I have seen this usage elsewhere.

To me a "Killer Application" was always with respect to a platform or technology, i.e. an application for the technology so compelling that a large number of people would be compelled to buy the technology.

Has that definition become obsolete so that a killer app is now just a really good piece of software?

name withheld out of cowardice
Monday, February 02, 2004

I would say that most technology now-a-days is old news and old hat.  So yea the term is used to describe an application that sells really well.  (Is .NET really cutting edge technology?  Naw, it's just a bunch of hype about a virtual machine.  Money talks.)

Wardrobe Malfunction... ROFL
Monday, February 02, 2004

I think it's both. Killer applications "kill" their competition. Depending on the application, that competition may be a competing standard, technology, or architecture.

Caliban Tiresias Darklock
Monday, February 02, 2004

Spreadsheet.

AJS
Monday, February 02, 2004

To me a "killer app" is an application so good that you want (or need) to buy the system just for that piece of software.

I don't think there are "global" killer apps anymore for Joe Consumer.  Any computer is pretty decent for basic computer needs. 

But there are definite killer apps within a lot of niches.  For a lot of people, Final Cut Pro might be a "killer app" for video editing, or Mario Kart might be a killer app for a game-player, etc.

John Rose
Monday, February 02, 2004

To me it means innovative and popular, with emphasis on innovative.

anon
Monday, February 02, 2004

The definition I'm familiar with is the same as John's.  Comes mostly from being a part of the BeOS community.  There was always talk of the need for a killer app to bring users to the OS.  (Not saying I agree with that, but that's how many people felt.)  You may even be able to search for a JLG article on the subject.

Matt
Monday, February 02, 2004

"Killer application" to me means a use case that will get customers to call me and open their wallet on my desk.

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, February 02, 2004

The comments along the lines of "all killer apps have already been developed" sounds remarkably familiar to the claim that everything interesting has already been patented (around 1900)

Killer apps are usually obvious once some smart guy figures out what it is.

pdq
Monday, February 02, 2004

http://www.google.com/search?q=killer+app+definition

Web Definition:      Killer App - A term that migrated from software development to online. It is nothing more than tech-talk for the eternal search for next big idea.
www.intermark.org/im-glossary.html - More definitions

My personal definition would be a program that fills a need really well, something that didn't exist before in quite the same way. Either the first or best of it's breed by a wide margin.

www.MarkTAW.com
Monday, February 02, 2004

> everything interesting has already been patented

Wasn't that Einstein?

www.MarkTAW.com
Monday, February 02, 2004

You mean the man who spent 50 years of his life looking the TOE?

I thought it was the head of the US Patent Office in the early 1900's.


Monday, February 02, 2004

Halo

Master Chief
Monday, February 02, 2004

I don't know, I think of "Killer Application" as being the application which drives adoption.

Spreadsheet => The PC
Wordprocessor => Graphical user interfaces
WebBrowser => The Internet
Napster => Broadband

Almost Anonymous
Monday, February 02, 2004

If you capitalize it, its one that drives adoption. Otherwise it is just a kewl application and the word 'killer' is emphasized with the 2nd syllable drawn out.

Dennis Atkins
Monday, February 02, 2004

Yeah, that's my understanding too: the app that drives adoption and moves you from early adopters to everyone thinking they've gotta have it.

Steve Jones (UK)
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

The everything that can be invented has been was stated by the head of the US patent office in the late 1800s.  He was recommending that the patent office be shut down.  The Economist magazine used to use the exact quote on those little cards they use to sell first subscriptions.

Einstein didn't say it but I think we have Einstein to blame for the (false) idea that humans only use 10% of their brains.

As for the "Web Definition" this kind of goes with my question.  The Term "Killer App" originally had a specific definition and over the years has been misused.  My question was have we reached the point at which the misuse becomes a legitimate use.

I fear it has.  THis is a shame because "Killer App" filled a need.  Now it is ambiguous.

name withheld out of cowardice
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I thought the idea that we only use 10% of our brain comes from a scientific experiment where they had rats run a maze and cut out pieces of their brain until they couldn't anymore. They cut out 90% of the brain.

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I thought that when they cut out 90% they became VB programmers.

Relax, I'm a VBer so I can make fun, or so Joel says.


Tuesday, February 03, 2004

> the idea that we only use 10% of our brain

That's an urban myth very popular with some New Age goofballs and quackery peddlers, there is no scientific support for that:

http://skepdic.com/refuge/suburbanmyths.html

http://www.snopes.com/science/stats/10percnt.htm

Mickey Mouse from the maze
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

This is an easy myth to bust, heck I could come up with 10 reasons it's fake with only 1% of my brain.

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

By the way, whatever I read that said that it came from a labrat did say that drawing that kind of conclusion from that study was utterly rediculous, and went on to list a half dozen reasons why.

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

That's why I stopped being a lab rat.  Those dumb-ass scientists were as thick as VB "programmers" but they just couldn't see it.

name withheld out of cowardice
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

If you follow Mickey's links it becomes apparent that the patent office quote is also crap...odd the Economist should fall for it.

name withheld out of cowardice
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

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