Killer Apps???

Fredrik Lundh effbot at telia.com
Fri Feb 18 23:16:41 CET 2000


François Pinard <pinard at iro.umontreal.ca> wrote:
> Just curious, and using English as a second language, here.
>
> I do not understand what these applications are supposed to kill?
> Developers?  Users?  Competitors? :-) Why the reference to "killing"?

[checking the eff-bot archive]

(oh, here it is)

[start of transmission]

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF, VS. MICROSOFT
CORPORATION, ET AL., DEFENDANTS

WASHINGTON, D. C. DECEMBER 15, 1998

EXCERPTS OF BILL GATES' DEPOSITION

          QUESTION:  THE PORTION OF IT I WANT TO REFER YOU
TO IS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE FIRST PAGE UNDER THE HEADING
CALLED "THE LATEST KILLER APP."  DO YOU SEE THAT?

          ANSWER:  I SEE A HEADING.

          QUESTION:  YES.  THE FIRST PARAGRAPH UNDER THE
HEADING READS AS FOLLOWS:  "OUR INDUSTRY IS ALWAYS LOOKING
FOR THE NEXT 'KILLER APPLICATION' -- FOR A CATEGORY OF
SOFTWARE THAT, BY ITS UTILITY AND INTELLIGENT DESIGN,
BECOMES INDISPENSABLE TO MILLIONS OF PEOPLE.  WORD
PROCESSORS AND SPREADSHEETS WERE THE KILLER APPLICATIONS FOR
BUSINESS P.C.'S STARTING IN 1981."
          AND THE NEXT SENTENCE READS, "THE LATEST CONFIRMED
'KILLER APP' IS THE WEB BROWSER."
          DO YOU RECALL WRITING THAT, SIR?

          ANSWER:  NO.

          QUESTION:  DO YOU HAVE ANY REASON TO BELIEVE YOU
DIDN'T WRITE IT?

          ANSWER:  NO.

          QUESTION:  CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT YOU MEANT HERE BY
DESCRIBING THE WEB BROWSER AS A "KILLER APP"?

          ANSWER:  I JUST MEANT THAT BROWSING WOULD BE, IN
OUR VIEW, A POPULAR THING, NOT NECESSARILY ON THE WEB, BUT
JUST BROWSING IN GENERAL WOULD BE A POPULAR ACTIVITY.

          QUESTION:  IS A KILLER APPLICATION AN APPLICATION
THAT DRIVES SALES OF OTHER PRODUCTS, LIKE OPERATING SYSTEMS
AND HARDWARE?

          ANSWER:  NO.

          QUESTION:  DO YOU HAVE A DEFINITION IN YOUR OWN
MIND OF "KILLER APPLICATION"?

          ANSWER:  IT MEANS A POPULAR APPLICATION.

          QUESTION:  LET ME RESORT AGAIN TO THE MICROSOFT
COMPUTER DICTIONARY, AND I'LL READ YOU WHAT THAT SAYS ABOUT
KILLER APPLICATIONS.  YOU MAY DISAGREE WITH IT, AND IF SO,
YOU CAN TELL ME.
          THE MICROSOFT COMPUTER DICTIONARY, 1997 EDITION,
DEFINES "KILLER APP" AS FOLLOWS, AND IT GIVES TWO
DEFINITIONS.  AND I'LL BE VERY COMPLETE THIS TIME,
MR. GATES.
          THE FIRST DEFINITION IS, "AN APPLICATION OF SUCH
POPULARITY AND WIDESPREAD STANDARDIZATION THAT IT FUELS
SALES OF THE HARDWARE PLATFORM OR OPERATING SYSTEM FOR WHICH
IT WAS WRITTEN."
          I WILL READ IT TO YOU.  THE SECOND DEFINITION IS,
"AN APPLICATION THAT SUPPLANTS ITS COMPETITION."
          LET ME GO BACK AND READ YOU THE FIRST DEFINITION
AGAIN, NOW THAT YOU'VE HEARD BOTH OF THEM.
          THE FIRST DEFINITION READS AS FOLLOWS:  "AN
APPLICATION OF SUCH POPULARITY AND WIDESPREAD
STANDARDIZATION THAT IT FUELS SALES OF THE HARDWARE PLATFORM
OR OPERATING SYSTEM FOR WHICH IT WAS WRITTEN."

          ANSWER:  I ALREADY TOLD YOU THAT MY DEFINITION OF
"KILLER APP" IS A VERY POPULAR APPLICATION.

          QUESTION:  WHAT ABOUT A RELATIONSHIP TO AN
OPERATING SYSTEM?

          ANSWER:  USUALLY THEY'RE JUST TALKING ABOUT IT
BEING A VERY POPULAR APPLICATION.  I CERTAINLY KNOW OF
THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN REFERRED TO AS KILLER APPLICATIONS
THAT HAVEN'T DRIVEN HARDWARE SALES OR OPERATING SYSTEM
SALES.

          QUESTION:  WHAT OTHER APPLICATIONS WOULD YOU
IDENTIFY AS BEING KILLER APPLICATIONS?

          ANSWER:  APPLIED SIMULATOR.

[end of transmission]





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