Planted on a main aisle at a CompUSA store and trimmed in stylish brushed aluminum, the SoftwareToGo machine looks much like a touch-screen ATM. It lets customers search for software titles by name, category or publisher, place an order and then pick it up on a CD at the checkout counter.

Despite its commanding location, shoppers pass by the machine without so much as a glance. A few who tinker with it walk away.



Still, store manager Craig Steinmetz thinks the machine could revolutionize the way people buy software.



No more shelves lined with bulky boxes. Each title is always in stock. The latest upgrades are sent to the machine over the Internet. And Steinmetz thinks it’s less vulnerable to thieves, such as the one who recently broke into boxes at his CompUSA store and tried to steal $400 worth of CD-ROMs.



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