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Duke Nukem Forever 2007 teaser screenshot

Top 15 vaporware applications

Vaporware is a term in the computer industry that describes a product, typically computer  hardware or software, that is announced to the general public but is never actually released nor officially canceled. Vaporware is also a term sometimes used to describe events that are announced or prophesied, never officially cancelled, but never intended to happen.   The term also generally applies to a product that is announced months or years before its release, and for which public development details are lacking.  The word has been applied to a growing range of products including consumer, automobiles, and some stock trading practices. At times, vendors are criticized for intentionally producing vaporware in order to keep customers from switching to competitive products that offer more features.  Publications widely accuse developers of announcing products early intentionally to gain advantage over others. Network World magazine called vaporware an “epidemic” in 1989, and blamed the press for not investigating whether developers’ claims were true. Seven major companies issued a report in 1990 saying they felt vaporware had hurt the industry’s credibility.   The United States accused several companies of announcing vaporware early in violation of antitrust laws, but few have been found guilty. InfoWorld magazine wrote that  the word is overused, and places an unfair stigma on developers.

“Vaporware” was coined by a Microsoft engineer in 1982 to describe the company’s Xenix operating system, and first published by computer expert Esther Dyson in 1983. It became popular among writers in the industry as a way to describe products they felt took too long to be released. InfoWorld magazine editor Stewart Alsop helped popularize it by lampooning Bill Gates with a Golden Vaporware award for the late release of his company’s first version of Windows in 1985. Vaporware first implied intentional fraud when it was applied to the Ovation office suite in 1983; the suite’s demonstration was well-received by the press, but was later revealed to have never existed


One response

  1. As of November 18, 2012, Nexus 10 qualifies for the term VAPORWARE!!! How a big company like Google could fall so flat on their face with a new product release. I have not seen any news releases from Google Apologizing for this Debacle. Like a million other potential customers, our opinion of Google is in the Basement. The cost of all the advertising they have done on this product, the Advertising Cost per unit sold must be about 100%

    19/11/2012 at 01:10

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