NeXT AppStore 1




NeXT AppStore was created in the early 90’s. He was called Electronic AppWrapper (EAW).

Those involved in the creation of NeXT AppStore believe that they invented it. Nothing like this in the early 90’s really was not, the idea belonged to them – it is true, to patent their invention and legally formalize the rights to it, they did not guess. Most likely, they could not even imagine how valuable and powerful they had come up with.

Paget Press, which neighbors at the office center in the Triangular building on Seattle’s West Avenue, opposite the largest “public” market, was considered a publisher, in fact it was a retail dealer of NeXT Computer.

The company belonged to the couple of Thompsons, Gary and Peggy, and did not bring significant revenues. Gary held a high post on Boeing, and in the activities of Paget Press did not participate. Only money.

NeXT dealers were more like religious communities than business. Tightening the belts, in the hope of the inevitable success of the “black” iron, they believed in NeXT and loved this platform, and from love to inspiration one step. People sacrificed themselves in the name of the idea, it’s stupid and impractical – but is it not stupid to spend tens of years on a job that makes you sick?

In 1991, Paget Press published a software catalog for NeXT, because of the revolution in publishing now it was possible, and even cost not too expensive.

The first catalog included information about a couple of hundred software products, it turned out to be a much more profitable occupation than infrequent sales of “black” hardware. In addition, the catalog stood out against the backdrop of their own: in the hobbyists, the most unexpected talents are almost certainly hidden. The first edition of the catalog was sold almost instantly.

It was an ordinary “paper” catalog. The first step to the NeXT AppStore.

Richard Cary
People gather in such companies not because of love for poverty and not because of laziness, although there are all kinds of things – and it was decided to repeat the successful experience. It is better to be healthy and rich than poor and sick.

Almanacs (the catalog is somehow too common, is not it?) Now came out once a quarter. Paget Press sold NeXTs, but it was more and more like a publishing house.

The company attracted visitors who wanted to order advertising catalogs (printers, seeders, IBM PC). Visitors in general became very much – it’s time to think about expanding the staff.

It is not known what would be the end of the story of AppWrapper and Paget Press if Richard Carey did not appear in one of the frosty days of 1992 in the Triangular building opposite the main city market. Richard was looking for work, and responded to the proposal of Paget Press.

Nowadays he is a successful writer and philosopher, famous and popular. Apparently, in narrow circles – there are few philosophers and writers in the world. But in the early 90’s, Richard was in a difficult situation. How many he remembered himself, he wrote stories and dreamed of becoming a writer. From childhood.

Instead, after graduating from university, he married. And for seven years he was engaged in marketing in some big and rich company. There was no time left for writing time, but the dream did not want to die and tormented the soul. A normal and responsible person would tolerate these torments as long as you please, until retirement (forgive), or until “carrot fattening.” Wife, daughter of two years old, mortgage loans …

But he decided. Wife, apparently not immediately, agreed to suffer a year. The two-year-old daughter also did not mind (but solely because of her young age, later she invariably took the side of the mother). Having written two novels, Richard unsuccessfully tried to publish them. Time passed, the year stretched out to two, from savings, there was almost nothing left.

Paget Press was the first company on Richard’s way. The publisher (he was sure that this publishing house) needed a marketing manager. Richard was the first who came to this announcement: the amount of compensation did not inspire job seekers. The fate of the world’s first AppStore hung on a thin thread for several weeks.

In the interview, he did not admit anything, even when he found out that the company was selling NeXTs. Neither that of computers has no idea (although the computer he had, Gateway without a hard drive), nor that he hears about CD / ROM for the first time in his life and does not know what it is. He agreed. He was accepted.

Compensation was not too big, the wife was furious, and instead of marketing, Richard dealt with visitors, answered phone calls, ruled the texts for AppWrapper, and a thousand such cases.

Jesse Wheeler
In the company was another dreamer who owned a rare art of writing programs for NeXTSTEP, who consulted customers on technical issues, solved their problems and found out from the authors of programs purchased through the catalog that to answer stupid questions from users (when he had the same ones questions).

When the money flowed from AppWrapper in Paget Press, Jess became the head of the department, and he had a small but very talented team, “to work with CD / ROM.” Peggy was sure that this is an incredibly difficult thing.

Richard’s workplace was in the dressing room of the company, Jess and his team occupied a room in the back of the office – they almost did not intersect. When the visitor needed a technical consultation, Richard called Jess.

In small companies there are no secrets. Jess with the team “engaged in CD / ROM”. Three or four programmers. How many programmers do you need to screw in a light bulb or put hundreds of two or three demos on a CD / ROM?

By screwing a light bulb or placing something on a CD, it’s better to do without programmers.

The team wrote two programs, I will name them EnCrypt and DeCrypt (the story did not save their real names).

The first encrypted the installation package of the program, the second decrypted this package and installed the product on the hard disk of the computer. DeCrypt was launched by double clicking on the encrypted archive, and offered to enter a keyword or contact the owner of the rights to the program, buy it, get a coveted word and … enjoy.

DeCrypt generated an email message to the address of the program provider, the client could only view it, add a few words from themselves – and voila.

All this would be great if the process did not require human intervention, but the supplier had to read the letter from the potential client, organize the payment process and receive confirmation, generate a code word for the customer, send it to the client … And nowhere to go wrong with it.

Richard was aware of the underground project, like all the staff of Paget Press, and aware of his problems. He was tormented by this annoying discrepancy. A software product that will buy one or two customers is not a product. With such products, there will be no problems, no profit.

But if the developer managed to catch the “luck bird,” and thousands of users will want to purchase it, the developer’s mail client will be flooded with messages that need to be answered, then get a confirmation of payment, the idea to generate a code word and send it to the buyer.

Electronic AppWrapper (EAW)

Richard finalized the scheme, and, having overcome considerable difficulties, then working around the clock with the team of Jess, then conducting uneasy negotiations with representatives of banks, closed the chain.

The chain was tested as a weapon of mass destruction. And it was to them: its creators knew that buyers would be amazed. Representatives of banks, not inclined to delight and very cautious people, were struck first. Therefore, they meticulously checked all possible and impossible scenarios, trying to exclude the slightest possibility of error or fraud.

Their pedantry brought the developers to nervous breakdowns, but after coping with rabies, they again worked out scenarios in which the bankers caught sight of something they understood only – everyone understood how important it was.

Finally, the bankers gave good, and the system earned.

Now the purchase process looked like this: a double click displayed a page with information about the encrypted program, and buttons for installing the demo version (the terms and conditions of the demo version were determined by the program provider), for its acquisition and for installing the purchased program (with the key the words).

The process started by pressing a button, took 99% of the time developers, testers and bankers. The buyer entered the number of the bank card, the program generated a payment order and, in an encrypted form, along with the information about the payer, transferred it to the bank. The bank checked the request (validity of the card, the balance on it and something else), blocked the required amount, and sent an encrypted request with payment confirmation to the Electronic AppWrapper, who generated the keyword and communicated that word to the buyer and displayed a dialog with a proposal to install the program (without entering key, AppWrapper ‘s key was already known).

Magic CD / ROMs were delivered by subscription, for $ 48 per year. With each author, the percentage of the cost of the copy, listed by Paget Press, was stipulated – from 15 to 40.

Revenues of Paget Press have grown by an order of magnitude. The company released five “smart” CD / ROMs, and moved the system to the Internet. Revenues rose again, but Peggy turned EAW into a store of unconventional jazz music, and it all ended.

EAW and Steve Jobs
At the conference of NeXT developers in late 1992, Jesse Tyler showed Steve Electronic AppWrapper, and suggested including the program in the distribution system, for small deductions from each copy.

Steve liked the idea, but …

– Including AppWrapper in the distribution would be great, but there is no money for deductions.

Promise the free inclusion of Electronic AppWrapper in the distribution of Jess had no authority. It’s a pity.


In: A Technology & Gadgets Asked By: [23225 Red Star Level]

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