Vaporware Definition

Vaporware is computer software or hardware that has been announced and/or advertised but which never becomes available. Or if it does become available, it lacks some of the promised features and performance.

Vaporware can be either unintentional or intentional. The former is the situation in which a company had actually been developing or planning a product but then stops development or does not sell it even if development has been completed. This can occur for several reason, including (1) development difficulties that make the product less satisfactory than initially expected, (2) cost overruns that make it no longer economical to complete development or produce the product and (3) changes in market conditions that reduce demand and/or profitability.

Intentional vaporware refers to a product that a company has no intention of producing or selling even when it is announcing or advertising it. Some companies use this as (1) a means to discourage customers from buying competitive products, (2) a trial balloon for testing the market for a new product and (3) a way to increase its stock price.

Created April 24, 2006.
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