Bloatware is software that uses an excessive amount of system resources, such as disk space and memory. While bloatware may refer to the first version of a software program, it most often describes programs that require increasing amounts of system resources with each new version.

It is generally considered good programming practice to develop efficient applications. A well-developed program should not require more RAM or disk space than necessary. However, in some cases a developer may prioritize a specific release date or new features over efficiency. This can result in a bloated application that uses far more storage space and memory than the previous version.

New versions of software programs typically include new features, which provide an incentive for users to upgrade. However, with each new release, the program's system requirements may also grow. If left unchecked, after a few versions, a once efficient application can turn into bloatware. To avoid this, some software developers make an intentional effort to trim unnecessary features when adding new ones.

Common examples of software that may be considered bloatware include Microsoft Windows, Apple iTunes, and Adobe Reader.

Updated July 12, 2013 by Per C.

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