I'm told that these days there is no such thing as a killer application.
Although vendors have tried their best to stimulate the market with great new products such as Windows XP et al, new product revisions over the last couple of years have fallen on a barren corporate landscape where only the hardiest of IT products have flourished.
Usually these projects are like a genetically modified variety of IT, providing plentiful returns more quickly and cheaply than traditional 'organic' equivalents.
Once the lifeblood of the channel, these software revisions have only been signed off if they show measurable competitive advantage at an affordable price. Another hurdle is that end users are less eager to put all their money into solutions from a single vendor.
Therefore vendors are now putting forward the notion that 'customer choice' is the paradigm driving IT procurement as if it was something radically new.
Of course, customers are going to buy products of their choice; they always have. The trick these days is to make sure that your systems and applications are interoperable with others. But I continue to believe that the killer app is still an important driver in the IT industry.
Take McDonald's and Burger King, for example. While both supporters will have their own set of values as to why they prefer, say, BK's flame-grilled taste or McD's competitive price point, the truth for me is each has its equivalent of a killer app that can't be beaten by the other's offering.
For example, one reason I go to BK rather than McD's is that BK does great onion rings. McD's doesn't.
By the same token, BK can't match the medicinal qualities of a McD's milkshake after a rather long night.
So with their killer apps each vendor here attracts customers through the door and introduces them to upsell opportunities, such as the hot apple pie.
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