Vaporware, guess we're all familiar with the term, anyone can easily name a few products that were said to dominate the market in a few months time but actually never made it. And we're only talking about computer hardware here, lets just not get into all the wild stuff some software companies have dreamed up in the past few years. But quite frankly what was the net effect of all of that hyped up marketing and promises made on products never delivered.
BitBoys for sure turned some heads about two years ago when they announced their graphics accelerator and made competitors such as nVidia and the former 3dfx take a good look at their prospective claims in both performance and feature set. 3dfx and Matrox did the same with some of their never released products, like the Rampage and the G800. But other computer hard- and software manufacturers have done likewise, these examples are just more recent and actually represent the tip of the iceberg.
From the consumer's point of view it may seem that the company responsible from manufacturing these would-be products looses a lot in credibility, which naturally cannot be denied. But in hindsight, initially everyone is enthusiastic about the new products or concepts being presented, and usually takes them seriously. Although the company in question may fail to deliver on the products in question in time, or never even produce them at all, they did raise the bar for their competitors and thus have adversely affected the research and development of similar products from competing companies.
If they miss their introduction date or fail to deliver on the product at all, their competitors might have a product ready soon after, which does have much of the would be product's performance and/or features. So in the end, the company that first came up with the vaporware might not be benefiting from it, but its competitors will, and so will the end user.
Could vaporware to some effect be the driving force of Moore's law, or the force that propels the computer industry in general? As quite frankly the fear of being in 2nd place or being less than a top ten tier is what keeps many companies in this industry on the bleeding edge of technology, whether that edge is make belief or for real.