A vertical market is one that supplies goods to a specific industry. For example, a MIDI keyboard manufacturer develops products for a vertical market since the keyboards are only used by people who want to create music on their computers. Vertical market software, therefore, is software developed for niche applications or for a specific clientele.
For example, investment, real estate, and banking programs are all vertical market software applications because they are only used by a specific group of people. Scientific analysis programs, screenplay writing programs, and programs used by medical professionals are also vertical market software because they cater to a specific audience. There is typically not a lot of competition in vertical markets, but it can still be a risky industry since developers are highly dependent on specific clients to buy their products. The opposite of vertical market software is horizontal market software, which is developed for the general public or multiple industries.