Colloquialism for a use or application for a technology (or a software application), which so useful and so rapidly adopted that it drives a large increase in sales of that technology. In desktop computers the original killer-app was considered the spreadsheet and especially the first widely used spreadsheet known as Visi-Calc developed by Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston; later killer apps were easy to use word processing packages such as WordPerfect; networking software such as Novell Netware and most recently the widespread popular adoption of the Internet. In cellular phones, SMS or short messaging service has often been described as a killer app. Many commentators ascribe the post 2000 downturn in the technology industry to a dearth of killer-apps, although it has also been noted that excessive reliance on killer-apps has caused technology to have a pronounced boom-bust cycle.  See Nifty-App

The boom-bust cycle is often also ascribed to the overbuilding of production capacity for products such as microprocessors and in particular memory chips; the resulting oversupply causes prices to collapse.  However, the then dramatically reduced prices for previously expensive components can  often drive falling prices for newly developed applications that make heavy use of, for example, memory, leading to their popularisation and widespread adoption and the ensuing boom.


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