There are between 30,000 and 40,000 different pieces of personal computer software--i.e., programs that make your computer do what you want it to do--being sold right now.
But good luck finding a store that carries all of them. In fact, good luck finding a store that carries even as many as 200 different packages at the same time and also has a salesperson who can discuss half of what the store has on its shelves with anything resembling familiarity.
So how can anyone hope to find the software package that does what is desired for a price that's right?
Enter Larry Stockett. He's the man who may have figured out a way to make the owner an instant expert on virtually every piece of software available, thereby saving a lot of time and maybe even some money.
Stockett is president and founder of a Fairfax company called PC Telemart. In the next few weeks in half a dozen Washington-area computer stores, his company is going to begin testing a concept that will allow you to search a nationally linked system of computer memory banks for just the kind of software you want; let you test it over that same system to see whether you like the software, and then allow you to buy it at a discount through the store that offers the computer-linkup service. It could revolutionize the industry.
What Stockett plans on doing is installing little computer "kiosks" in computer stores around the country. The kiosks will be linked to a large data base which will contain reviews and other information about the software. Customers will be able to access that data base through the kiosk, thereby being able to search for whatever type of software they want.
There is no cost to the customer if the system is used in the store. However, a tie into the system from home computers, which will be permitted at the discretion of the store, raises even more interesting possibilties.
For the store, at least initially, there will be a $500 monthly charge that will include all maintenance and access to the buying power of the pool. As part of the system, PC Telemart will also maintain a library of all the software packages its system will contain. Individuals or companies will be assessed a library charge of $300 or so a year.