I'm such a stooge, I bought Netscape Navigator (in March 1995). Netscape was in such an early stage of development they still hadn't figured out (or planned ?) on how to handle a retail customer. Heck, the receptionist wasn't even sure if Netscape could take a credit card.
Feigning business acumen and technological understanding, I pompously stated to the customer service representative that my time was too valuable to download their software over my ISDN line. (They must have thought my interpretation of this acronym was "I'm Some Dumb Nitwit".) The helpful representative kept trying to explain to me that their browser could be downloaded for free, however, I wouldn't admit not knowing what she was talking about. Up to this call, my only experience with digital communication was in a CompuServe chat area which constantly bounced me due to my poor grasp of netiquette.
I was frantic to get Netscape Navigator because I had recently convinced the CEO of a high tech firm of my "on-line" erudition and had an upcoming presentation scheduled. Once I finally convinced the Netscape representative that I was serious about my purchase intent, I was put on hold. After almost 15 minutes, a voice came back to inquire "what would you like to pay for it?". My reflexive response after looking at the approximate $50.00 in my wallet was "oh, about $49.95". We eventually did succeed in completing a transaction. Frankly, based on what I had paid for Windows, I thought this was a real bargain!
When a single disk arrived in a brown paper package, I was not sure whether it was Netscape Navigator or the pornography that a (now former) partner was anxiously awaiting. As I tentatively opened the wrapper and inspected the glistening black diskette labeled with what appeared to be a laser-jet printed Avery label, I knew the delights of the Internet awaited me.
Being extremely apprehensive of loading this software onto my hard drive, I hired a college senior (two credits shy of graduation) to configure my computer for Internet navigation. $1,000 later, I concluded that I better get up to speed on what the Internet was about, or I would be held hostage by every scam artist lurking in dark corners offering to configure my malfunctioning Pentium processor.
In hindsight, I still believe $49.95 was a fair price for Netscape Navigator. Netscape must be thinking along the same lines, because this is about where the retail price point was set. Could this arbitrary and insane transaction have been the event that firmly established the retail price for the Netscape browser?
Submitted by Bill. (Randy won't take any credit for this one -- even he knows better than to pay for Freeware.)
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