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difference between application software and system software

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1.     Due Tuesday 9/27, 200 word min.: Explain the difference between application software and system software.

2.     Due Tuesday 9/27, 200 word min.: Explain the difference between vertical and horizontal market software.
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Eagon :

1. system software is any computer software which manages and controls computer hardware so that application software can perform a task. Operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X or Linux, are prominent examples of system software. System software contrasts with application software, which are programs that enable the end-user to perform specific, productive tasks, such as word processing or image manipulation.

System software performs tasks like transferring data from memory to disk, or rendering text onto a display device. Specific kinds of system software include loading programs, operating systems, device drivers, programming tools, compilers, assemblers, linkers, and utility software.

Software libraries that perform generic functions also tend to be regarded as system software, although the dividing line is fuzzy; while a C runtime library is generally agreed to be part of the system, an OpenGL or database library is less obviously so.

If system software is stored on non-volatile memory such as integrated circuits, it is usually termed firmware while an application software is a subclass of computer software that employs the capabilities of a computer directly and thoroughly to a task that the user wishes to perform. This should be contrasted with system software which is involved in integrating a computer's various capabilities, but typically does not directly apply them in the performance of tasks that benefit the user. In this context the term application refers to both the application software and its implementation.

A simple, if imperfect analogy in the world of hardware would be the relationship of an electric light bulb (an application) to an electric power generation plant (a system). The power plant merely generates electricity, not itself of any real use until harnessed to an application like the electric light that performs a service that benefits the user.

Typical examples of software applications are word processors, spreadsheets, and media players.

Multiple applications bundled together as a package are sometimes referred to as an application suite. Microsoft Office and, which bundle together a word processor, a spreadsheet, and several other discrete applications, are typical examples. The separate applications in a suite usually have a user interface that has some commonality making it easier for the user to learn and use each application. And often they may have some capability to interact with each other in ways beneficial to the user. For example, a spreadsheet might be able to be embedded in a word processor document even though it had been created in the separate spreadsheet application.

User-written software tailors systems to meet the user's specific needs. User-written software include spreadsheet templates, word processor macros, scientific simulations, graphics and animation scripts. Even email filters are a kind of user software. Users create this software themselves and often overlook how important it is.

In some types of embedded systems, the application software and the operating system software may be indistinguishable to the user, as in the case of software used to control a VCR, DVD player or Microwave Oven.

Eagon :

2. Business software is a broad term that describes vertical and horizontal market software. (Parsons J. J.,Dan Oja, 2007). Horizontal market software is generic software. They can be used by any industry. Their usefulness is not limited to some specific industries as they lack market specific customization. Such software is also called “productivity software”. For example Payroll system, Microsoft Office Suite, Web browser etc are Horizontal market software. They are not customized for a particular industry and so being used across industries.


On the other hand, Vertical market software is designed to automate specific tasks in a specific market. Their scope of useful is limited to a particular industry or few industries. Such software is customized to serve a specific market segment and can not be used by other market segment. For example, Industry specific ERPs like SAP IS-OIL, SAP IS-Retail etc are Vertical market software. SAP IS-Oil is developed for and customized to serve the requirements of Oil industry only. They can not be used by Retail industry. If Retail industry needs to use SAP, they will opt for SAP IS-Retail which is developed for and customized to serve the requirements of retail industry only. Vertical market software has application specific Graphical User Interface (GUI). Those software companies develop inhouse to meet their specific requirements are examples of vertical market software.


Parsons J. J.,Dan Oja. (2007). "New perspectives, computer concepts". Course Technology

Eagon :

If the first app and software explanation is too long try this one.

Eagon :

System software helps computer carry out its operating functions while Application software helps people carry out tasks.


Actually, system software makes the computer operational and enhances computer’s performance. System software can be classified into three classes:

  1. System Control Program - They control the execution of programs, manage the storage and processing resources of the computer and perform other management and monitoring functions.

  2. System support programs- They provide routine service functions to the other computer programs. Eg. Libraries

  3. System development programs – They assist in the creation of application programs. Eg. Compiler



The most common example of system software is Operating System. Computer is dumb without an operating system. We need to install operating system like Windows XP, Windows 2007, Linus, Unix etc in computer to make it operational. System software also performs tasks like transferring data from memory, sending data to output device and receiving data from input device. Some examples of system software are operating system, assembler, loader, compiler, driver, DBMS etc.


On the other hand, application software are programs that help end user perform specific tasks. They do not help computer carry out its operating functions. They do not improve computer’s performance. They are specifically designed to meet end user’s requirements. Examples of application software are Microsoft word, excel, photoshop, any spread sheet application, word processing application, web browser etc.


Generally software library is considered as system software (System support program). Firmware is also considered as system software. A firmware is stored on non-volatile memory. Any program which integrates a computer’s various capabilities is called system software.


Business software like horizontal market software and vertical market software are application software as they are developed to meet end users need.




"What is system software and application software". Retrieved on May 2nd, 2010. From:

Eagon, Computer Support Specialist
Category: Computer
Satisfied Customers: 82
Experience: 10+years of servicing computer hardware, software, networking, repair and troubleshooting
Eagon and 4 other Computer Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for your help. Is anything copied or are both of the questions original (you're own creation).
I hope you are available to answer my questions in the near feature.

I cannot claim them as my own. They were gathered from various sources to give you the most complete answer possible. Hopefully, you should be able to use the information and write them in your own words. Good luck!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Would you be interested in answering these 2 questions? I need them answered in your own words. I will add a $19 bonus on this post or if you prefer I will create a new post.

1.In 200 words or more: Identify and explain the five software components of a database management system

2.In 200 words or more: Compare and contrast online transaction processing with online analytical processing.
Sorry, I can gather the info needed from various sources but im not available to write those out.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks anyways,

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