Black Market :On the net

With all of the commotion on the Net about the demise of Appsoft and RightBrain, and all of the rumors that NeXT may be signing with Apple to replace Taligent for the PowerPC, you'd think there would've been a sudden plunge in NeXT commodity prices. But prices for black hardware are holding firm.

A survey of comp.sys.next.marketplace found people trying to sell every kind of NeXT system at prices between 50 percent and 80 percent of NeXT's original list price. During September (the month before this issue went to press), the Net saw 21 NeXTstations for sale priced between $2000 and $3000 (a single system was priced at $1500), 11 NeXTstation Colors priced between $3100 and $4000, two NeXTstation Turbos at $3500, and eight NeXTstation Turbo Colors priced from $4000 to $6000. A handful of NeXTdimension systems ($7500$8000) and five '030 Cubes ($600$1950) also showed up.

One thread speculated on the possibility of upgrading existing '040 systems to Motorola's newly announced '060. Those in the know say "not a chance." One reason for the recent upsurge in sales is the auction that NeXT had in September. As a result, many posters were advertising their systems as "factory new" and "still in the original box."

Software also popped up on the list: FrameMaker 3.0, $250; NEXTSTEP 3.0, $100; Simon Says, $125. There was a somewhat less bustling trade in fax modems ($100$300), printer cables ($30$50), CD-ROM drives ($300$400, sometimes bundled with NEXTSTEP 3.0), and empty magnesium Cube chassis. (Anybody got a blowtorch?)

Just about the only difficulty netters were having with selling their systems was getting the equipment moved around: Several people have reported that systems arrived damaged. Perhaps as a result, systems in the original boxes are fetching slightly higher prices.

by Simson L. Garfinkel