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In economics, a damaged good (sometimes termed "crippleware" or product with "anti-features") is a good that has been deliberately limited in performance, quality or utility,[1][2][3] typically for marketing reasons as part of a strategy of product differentiation.


Computer software

Deliberately limited programs are usually freeware versions of computer programs that lack the most advanced (or even crucial) features of the original program. Limited versions are made available in order to increase the popularity of the full program without giving it away free. An example of crippleware is a word processor that cannot save or print. However, crippleware programs can also differentiate between tiers of paying software customers. A well known example is the Microsoft Windows pricing model.

The term "crippleware" is sometimes used to describe software products whose functions have been limited (or "crippled") with the sole purpose of encouraging or requiring the user to pay for those functions (either by paying a one-time fee or an on-going subscription fee).[4][5][6]

There are several types of deliberately limited programs:

  • The full program with the features disabled; this type can be "unlocked" into a fully functional version of the software, usually via a serial number. One such example of this is the Adobe Creative Suite 4 trial downloads
  • A special trial version of the program that does not even include the executable code for the disabled features. In this case, only users who buy a licence are given access to another version of the program, which is fully functional.
  • The functionality of the software or hardware is permanently compromised from full functionality due to third party agreements. some General Licence Programs display this property[citation needed]
  • The vendor includes a clause that features time limits to mar functionality. For example, the freeware version of Fraps has in-game video recording time restricted to 30 seconds, and with a Fraps logo on the video.[citation needed]
  • Many consumer-end laptop computers are made to support only one Windows operating system by limiting production of device drivers for that model for only the particular operating system. Often this is done to limit the operating system used on the computer to the one that came packaged with it (i.e. preventing downgrading to Windows XP). Sometimes several versions of a particular laptop model are made with differing amounts of driver support for operating systems, such as in Toshiba Satellite computers.

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