Browse Definitions:


Contributor(s): Pradit Pinyopasakul

Vaporware is software or hardware that is announced publicly and actively promoted by a vendor even though it does not yet exist. To vaporize as a verb means to speak boastfully or be "full of hot air."

A vaporware announcement may simply be a marketing strategy to gauge customer interest in a particular product -- or the product may take so long to develop that it becomes more cost-effective to drop it quietly before completion. 

Most computer companies have from time to time delivered vaporware, either unintentionally or by calculation. Both IBM and Microsoft have been accused by the U.S. Justice Department of prematurely announcing vaporware products that were years away from completion in attempt to command market share and kill off any potential competition.

Concerns about vaporware led the Software Information Industry Association (SIIA) to address the problems caused by vaporware in their principles of fair competition:

"Pre-announcements of specific products or features are, at times, very relevant to a broad range of industry players in terms of assisting them in determining technology trends. However, the intentional pre-announcement of products that do not yet exist can have the effect of freezing the market. When a product pre-announcement is knowingly false, it may harm competition and restrict the availability to the market of innovative products from other vendors."

VaporWare is also the name of a company that makes games and other products for Amiga users.

See also: scareware, FUD, Business Software Alliancebuzz marketing, Glossary: software development


Continue reading about vaporware:

SIIA released guidelines to assist government officials in their reviews of competition in the software industry.

Barry Bayus, Sanjay Jain, and Ambar Rao published Truth or consequences: An analysis of vaporware and new product announcements.

This was last updated in April 2011

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

Def 2 on Vaporware

Items you purchase that are gone and leave you nothing to show for your purchase.
Roller coaster ride
Unscented Airfreshener.


Extensiones de Documento y Formatos de Documento

Accionado por:


  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...


  • cloud ecosystem

    A cloud ecosystem is a complex system of interdependent components that all work together to enable cloud services.

  • cloud services

    Cloud services is an umbrella term that may refer to a variety of resources provided over the internet, or to professional ...

  • uncloud (de-cloud)

    The term uncloud describes the action or process of removing applications and data from a cloud computing platform.


  • federated identity management (FIM)

    Federated identity management (FIM) is an arrangement that can be made among multiple enterprises to let subscribers use the same...

  • cross-site scripting (XSS)

    Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of injection security attack in which an attacker injects data, such as a malicious script, ...

  • firewall

    In computing, a firewall is software or firmware that enforces a set of rules about what data packets will be allowed to enter or...




  • bad block

    A bad block is an area of storage media that is no longer reliable for storing and retrieving data because it has been physically...

  • all-flash array (AFA)

    An all-flash array (AFA), also known as a solid-state storage disk system, is an external storage array that uses only flash ...

  • volume manager

    A volume manager is software within an operating system (OS) that controls capacity allocation for storage arrays.


  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.