Shareware is something that dates all the way back to the distribution of accounting and business software in the early 80s. The idea of being able to give a software program away for free and simply suggesting that the user pays for it, via shareware, was something that came about as a development by Andrew Fleugelman and Jim Knopf.
Fluegelman was an attorney from California and Knopf was a programmer with IBM out of Washington state. Both were looking for a way to expose the masses to their software to hopefully then convert them into regular users.
Being that the internet did not exist for most people back then, they were not able to run a decent marketing campaign. The transfer of data in between computers had to be done via sneakernet, along with the marketing side.
Sneakernet was both a clever name and a simple idea. What you may not know is that you have probably used it without even knowing about it. This is when you copy software from one computer off to a storage medium and then transport it by physically walking to another computer. Examples of this would be sharing and SD card or swapping a USB drive with someone.
Fluegelman and Knopf understood that if they wanted to get their software to a large audience, they had to be completely okay with the masses copying and then sharing. Asking someone to pay for any kind of software that they had not yet tried was not something that went down well at the time, so they went a bit further.
They would not only let people share their programs, but it could be done without any cost up front. If you ended up liking the software after using it, they would then suggest you pay for it. If you did not like it for some reason, you were not asked to pay money for it. This was a bold and novel idea, forcing them to create software that people loved and were willing to pay money for it.
Since then, further advances in shareware have been introduced, such as providing free aspects of specific software, sometimes for a limited period. After say, 30 days, the free trial period would be at an end, and the user would then need to pay to continue using the software. Other programmes like to offer free applications, which will always be free to the user, but there will also be a lot of other applications and advantages for upgrading to the paid version.
As these two boldly came up with a good distribution and economic plan, Bob Wallace is the one who then proclaimed the entire process as being shareware. This shareware process was not adopted by the gaming companies until the later half of the 80s, and there were differences in the overall approach according to Thunderboltgames.com.