shelfware definition

Contributor(s): Todd Morrison

Shelfware is slang for software that a company buys because of a perceived need or demand but never uses; hence, it sits on the shelf. 

A company might end up with shelfware if they fail to consider whether the software is backwards compatible and capable of working with legacy applications.  If a company purchases software they find they cannot use, some vendors will accept returns or exchanges.  

See also: COTS, MOTS, GOTS and NOTS, vaporware, scareware

This was first published in October 2011

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