UK Accounting Glossary
The classic example of a killer application is VisiCalc, a spreadsheet program that became very popular among financial analysts in the early 1980s, thus creating an enormous demand for the Apple II computer on which it ran. In this traditional sense, a killer application is a computer program that is so useful and compelling that it causes a tremendous rush to buy the underutilized technology (ie, the Apple II) necessary to run it. Killer application is now more broadly employed, so that search (i.e. Google) is now known as the killer application that makes the Internet-accessible, or a certain video game becomes the killer application that makes the purchase of a new video console mandatory. Unfortunately, the meaning of killer application has become diluted, so that killer application now sometimes means any product in the technology field that is extraordinarily successful or that steals a march on its competitors. Note that killer application is often shortened to killer app.
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This glossary post was last updated: 10th February 2020.