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App-Rising.com covers the development and adoption of broadband applications, the deployment of and need for broadband networks, and the demands placed on policy to adapt to the revolutionary opportunities made possible by the Internet.

App-Rising.com is written by Geoff Daily, a DC-based technology journalist, broadband activist, marketing consultant, and Internet entrepreneur.

App-Rising.com is supported in part by AT&T;, however all views and opinions expressed herein are solely my own.

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March 24, 2008 7:30 AM

"Killer Apps" Jumps the Shark

Everyone knows what a "killer app" is, but last night I witnessed the moment when this phrase jumped the shark.

TGI Friday is now offering a new menu of special "killer apps" though these apps refer to appetizers rather than applications.

Still, I wonder: do these appetizers justify a visit to TGI Fridays, just as a videocalling application demands the use of broadband?

Or from another angle, does TGI Fridays need a killer app? I mean, they've got locations everywhere. A lot of people already eat there. And the value proposition of going there is clear: if you're hungry you can go there to eat.

Broadband is most places, but still not everywhere. Not everyone is already online. And the value proposition for broadband tends to be quite muddy for most.

At the same time, TGI Fridays does need a killer app to help differentiate itself from the competition, which offers similar menus and prices. It's competing in a cutthroat world where some customers continue coming back out of habit but in order to attract new customers they need to create new reasons to stop by.

In this way I can see parallels between TGI Fridays and the various broadband competitors. To date their services have been roughly equivalent. Many subscribers stay with the same service because it's what they know rather than because it's the best. Customers can be very price sensitive. And so in order to attract new subscribers, broadband providers need to find the new killer apps that will drive demand for their service.

So in the end, maybe TGI Friday's killer apps isn't a sign that the term "killer app" has jumped the shark, instead they exemplify the challenges providers of all sorts have differentiating themselves in a competitive marketplace.

All this being said, I'm much more optimistic about killer apps for broadband having the opportunity to revolutionize society than the killer apps from TGI Friday, though I have been known to underestimate the awesome power of a new flavor of fried chicken wing before...


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