Vaporware (sometimes known as “vapor”, “vapourware”, or “vapour”) is a term used to describe software or hardware products that are announced to the public, but never actually released or produced. Vaporware can also refer to products that are announced, produced, and then cancelled before they reach the public.
The term was first coined circa 1983 by journalist and author Mark Chase and was popularized in the media a year later when InfoWorld magazine used it to describe software that had been widely advertised, but had yet to be released.
Vaporware is a common problem, especially in the computer industry. Companies often resort to vaporware announcements as a marketing ploy to drive up stock prices and raise money from investors. People may also be hesitant to invest in products that do not exist, yet companies are still able to capitalize on hype.
Vaporware can present many disadvantages. It can create an atmosphere of distrust between customers and companies, and can lead to a financial loss for investors if the product is never completed. Additionally, if the product is eventually produced, the hype may have died down, resulting in less interest and slower sales.
Vaporware is also used as a form of procrastination. Developers or executives may be tempted to make promises they can’t keep in order to buy themselves more time to produce or complete a project. The problem with this is that consumers are likely to feel let down and the company could become the butt of jokes for not sticking to their promises.
Vaporware has become a controversial issue over the years, as developers and producers use exciting marketing tactics to raise expectations for a product that may never come to fruition. It is an issue that consumers need to be aware of in order to avoid disappointment and to protect themselves from financial losses.