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A killer application, or killer app, is a new software application used to attract consumers and motivate new hardware device purchases.
Often innovative and cutting edge, killer apps are known for creating a large following. Over time, killer apps become an essential factor related to hardware or device purchases.
The killer app term also references computer games that also generate related game console popularity.
VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet application, is a commonly cited example of one of the first killer apps because it helped bring PCs into the business realm. As a result of the strength of this application, Apple successfully sold many of the Apple II computers on which VisiCalc was designed to run.
Many consider email to be the killer app of the Internet. While email isn't ground-breaking -- in fact, the technology is somewhat boring -- it was a major factor in bringing people online. In the 90s, not everybody had an email address. By the 2000s, it was strange for the average person to not use email.