PC Magazine: Wikis


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PC Magazine

February 2009 cover
Editor Lance Ulanoff
Categories Computer magazine
Frequency Monthly, Bi-monthly (Philippines)
First issue January 1982
Company Ziff Davis
Country United States, Bulgaria, Serbia
Mexico, Brazil, Thailand
Singapore, China, Turkey, Netherlands
Belgium, Middle East, Greece
Russia, Israel, Philippines
Language English, Spanish
Thai, Chinese, Serbian
Turkish, Portuguese, Greek, Arabic, Dutch
Website www.pcmag.com
ISSN 0888-8507

PC Magazine (sometimes referred to as PC Mag) is an online computer magazine that was published monthly in the United States both in print and online until January 2009. In November 2008 it was announced that the print edition of the magazine would be discontinued, but there would still be an online version. The magazine is published by Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings Inc. The first edition was released in January 1982 as a monthly called PC (the Magazine was not added to the logo until the first major redesign in January 1986). PC Magazine was created by David Bunnell and financed by Tony Gold, former owner of Lifeboat Associates. The magazine grew beyond the capital required to publish it, and to solve this problem, Tony Gold sold the magazine to Ziff-Davis and moved it to New York. David Bunnell and his staff left to form PC World magazine.[1] PC Magazine moved to biweekly publication in 1983 after a single monthly issue swelled to more than 800 pages. As of early 2009, the magazine will exist only as an online publication.[2]

The magazine's editor-in-chief, Lance Ulanoff, ascended to his current post in July 2007. Jim Louderback had held this position since 2005, but accepted the position of CEO of Revision3, an online media company.



PC Magazine provides reviews and previews of the latest hardware and software for the information technology professional. Articles are written by leading experts such as John C. Dvorak, whose regular column and Inside Track feature are among the magazine's most popular attractions. Other regular departments include columns by long-time editor-in-chief Michael J. Miller (Forward Thinking), Bill Machrone, and Jim Louderback, as well as:

  • First Looks (a collection of reviews of newly-released products),
  • Pipeline (a collection of short articles and snippets on computer-industry developments),
  • Solutions (which includes various how-to articles),
  • User-to-User (a section in which the magazine's experts answer user-submitted questions),
  • After Hours (a section about various computer entertainment products; the designation "After Hours" is a legacy of the magazine's traditional orientation towards business computing), and
  • Abort, Retry, Fail? (a beginning-of-the-magazine humor page which for a few years was known as Backspace—and was subsequently the last page).

Development and evolution

The magazine has evolved significantly over the years. The most drastic change has been the shrinkage of the publication due to contractions in the computer-industry ad market and the easy availability of the Internet, which has tended to make computer magazines less "necessary" than they once were. This is also the primary reason for the November 2008 decision to discontinue the print version. Where once mail-order vendors had huge listing of products in ads covering several pages, there is now a single page with a reference to a website. At one time (the 1980s through the mid-1990s), the magazine averaged about 400 pages an issue, with some issues breaking the 500- and even 600-page marks. In the late 1990s, as the computer-magazine field underwent a drastic pruning, the magazine shrank to 300-something and then 200-something pages.

Today, the magazine runs about 150 pages an issue. It has adapted to the new realities of the 21st century by reducing its once-standard emphasis on massive comparative reviews of computer systems, hardware peripherals, and software packages to focus more on the broader consumer-electronics market (including cell phones, PDAs, MP3 players, digital cameras, and so on). Since the late 1990s, the magazine has taken to more frequently reviewing Mac software and hardware.

PC Magazine has consistently positioned itself as the leading source of information about PCs and PC-related products, and its development and evolution have mirrored those of computer journalism in general. The magazine practically invented the idea of comparative hardware and software reviews in 1984 with a groundbreaking "Project Printers" issue. For many years thereafter, the blockbuster annual printer issue, featuring more than 100 reviews, was a PC Magazine tradition.

The publication also took on a series of editorial causes over the years, including copy protection (the magazine refused to grant its coveted Editors' Choice award to any product that used copy protection) and the "brain-dead" 286 (then-editor-in-chief Bill Machrone said the magazine would still review 286s but would not recommend them).

PC Magazine was a booster of early versions of the OS/2 operating system in the late 1980s, but then switched to a strong endorsement of the Microsoft Windows operating environment after the release of Windows 3.0 in May 1990. Some OS/2 users accused of the magazine of ignoring OS/2 2.x versions and later.

During the dot-com boom, the magazine began focusing heavily on many of the new Internet businesses, prompting complaints from some readers that the magazine was abandoning its original emphasis on computer technology. After the collapse of the technology bubble in the early 2000s, the magazine returned to a more traditional approach.

Alternative methods of publication

The online edition began in late 1994 and started producing a digital edition of the magazine through Zinio in 2004. For some years in the late 1990s, a CD-ROM version containing interactive reviews and the full text of back issues was available.

There was also a special "Network Edition" of the print magazine from 1993 to 1997. This evolved into "Net Tools", which was part of the general press run, and the current "Internet User" and "Internet Business" sections.

Numerous books have been published under the "PC Magazine" designation, as well. John C. Dvorak's name has also appeared on many books.

See also


  1. ^ Wise, Deborah (December 20, 1982). "Staff walks out on PC Magazine, starts new journal". InfoWorld (Popular Computing, Inc.) 4 (50): pp. 1, 8. ISSN 0199-6649. http://books.google.com/books?id=FTAEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA1.  
  2. ^ Clifford, Stephanie (November 19, 2008). "PC Magazine, a Flagship for Ziff Davis, Will Cease Printing a Paper Version". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/20/business/media/20mag.html.  

External links

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