is a computer magazine published
Publishing is the process of production and dissemination of literature or information—the activity of making information available to the general public...
by Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings Inc. A print edition was published from 1982 to January 2009. Publication of online editions started in late 1994 and continue to present.
The first edition was released in January 1982 as a monthly called PC
(the word Magazine
was not added to the logo
A logo is a graphic mark or emblem commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition...
until the first major redesign in January 1986). PC Magazine
was created by David Bunnell
David Bunnell is a media entrepreneur and technology pioneer who was involved in the earliest days of personal computing revolution and industry...
, Eddie Currie and Tony Gold, a co-founder of Lifeboat Associates
Lifeboat Associates was a company that acted as a independent software broker marketing software to major hardware vendors such as Xerox, HP and Altos. As such Lifeboat Associates were instrumental in the founding of Autodesk...
who financed the magazine. The magazine grew beyond the capital required to publish it, and to solve this problem, Gold sold the magazine to Ziff-Davis who moved it to New York City, New York. Bunnell and his staff left to form PC World
PC World is a global computer magazine published monthly by IDG. It offers advice on various aspects of PCs and related items, the Internet, and other personal-technology products and services...
moved to biweekly publication in 1983 after a single monthly issue swelled to more than 800 pages. In January 2008 the magazine dropped back to monthly issues.
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 last print edition was the January 2009 issue. The magazine's website, PCMag.com, continues to publish reviews of technology products, as well as news and opinion editorials, daily.
Dan Costa is the current editor-in-chief of PCMag.com
, the website of the now-folded magazine. Prior to this position, Costa was executive editor under the previous editor-in-chief, Lance Ulanoff
Lance Ulanoff is a tech and social media expert and the former Editor-in-Chief of PCMag.com and PC Magazine and SVP of Content for PCMag Digital Network, now editor in chief at Mashable.com. He appears as guest on national and local TV and radio shows. He has spent almost two decades in the...
. Ulanoff held the position of editor-in-chief from July 2007 to July 2011; the last print edition of the magazine appeared in January 2009, although Ulanoff continued on with the website PCMag.com.
James 'Jim' Louderback is the CEO of Revision3. He has had numerous jobs in media companies involved in technology, most notably with TechTV and editor-in-chief of PC Magazine...
had held this position of editor-in-chief before Ulanoff, from 2005, and left when he accepted the position of chief executive officer
A chief executive officer , managing director , Executive Director for non-profit organizations, or chief executive is the highest-ranking corporate officer or administrator in charge of total management of an organization...
of Revision3, an online media company.
A review is an evaluation of a publication, a product or a service, such as a movie , video game, musical composition , book ; a piece of hardware like a car, home appliance, or computer; or an event or performance, such as a live music concert, a play, musical theater show or dance show...
s and preview
PREview is a requirements method which focuses on the early stage of Requirements Engineering: discovering and documenting requirements. PREview uses a Viewpoint-Oriented Approach to enable the conversion of top-level goals into requirements and constraints...
s of the latest hardware
Hardware is a general term for equipment such as keys, locks, hinges, latches, handles, wire, chains, plumbing supplies, tools, utensils, cutlery and machine parts. Household hardware is typically sold in hardware stores....
Computer software, or just software, is a collection of computer programs and related data that provide the instructions for telling a computer what to do and how to do it....
for the information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...
professional. Articles are written by leading experts including John C. Dvorak
John C. Dvorak is an American columnist and broadcaster in the areas of technology and computing. His writing extends back to the 1980s, when he was a mainstay of a variety of magazines. Dvorak is also the Vice-President of Mevio and well known for his work for Tech TV...
, 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
Michael J. Miller is senior vice president for technology strategy at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm.Until late 2006, Miller was the Chief Content Officer for Ziff Davis Media, responsible for overseeing the editorial positions of Ziff Davis's magazines, websites, and events...
(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)
- Abort, Retry, Fail?
In computing, Abort, Retry, Fail? is a computer error message in the DOS operating system which indicates a critical error and prompts the end-user for the course of action to follow. This and other similar error messages are given by the default critical error handler...
(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
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...
, 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
Mail order is a term which describes the buying of goods or services by mail delivery. The buyer places an order for the desired products with the merchant through some remote method such as through a telephone call or web site. Then, the products are delivered to the customer...
vendors had huge listing of products in advertisements 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
A personal digital assistant , also known as a palmtop computer, or personal data assistant, is a mobile device that functions as a personal information manager. Current PDAs often have the ability to connect to the Internet...
MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III, more commonly referred to as MP3, is a patented digital audio encoding format using a form of lossy data compression...
players, digital cameras, and so on). Since the late 1990s, the magazine has taken to more frequently reviewing Macintosh
The Macintosh , or Mac, is a series of several lines of personal computers designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. The first Macintosh was introduced by Apple's then-chairman Steve Jobs on January 24, 1984; it was the first commercially successful personal computer to feature a mouse and a...
software and hardware.
has consistently positioned itself as the leading source of information about personal computers (PC) 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
The publication also took on a series of editorial causes over the years, including copy protection
Copy protection, also known as content protection, copy obstruction, copy prevention and copy restriction, refer to techniques used for preventing the reproduction of software, films, music, and other media, usually for copyright reasons.- Terminology :Media corporations have always used the term...
(the magazine refused to grant its coveted Editors' Choice award to any product that used copy protection) and the "brain-dead" Intel 80286
The Intel 80286 , introduced on 1 February 1982, was a 16-bit x86 microprocessor with 134,000 transistors. Like its contemporary simpler cousin, the 80186, it could correctly execute most software written for the earlier Intel 8086 and 8088...
(then-editor-in-chief Bill Machrone said the magazine would still review 286s but would not recommend them).
was a booster of early versions of the OS/2
OS/2 is a computer operating system, initially created by Microsoft and IBM, then later developed by IBM exclusively. The name stands for "Operating System/2," because it was introduced as part of the same generation change release as IBM's "Personal System/2 " line of second-generation personal...
operating system in the late 1980s, but then switched to a strong endorsement of the Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces . Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal...
operating environment after the release of Windows 3.0
Windows 3.0, a graphical environment, is the third major release of Microsoft Windows, and was released on 22 May 1990. It became the first widely successful version of Windows and a rival to Apple Macintosh and the Commodore Amiga on the GUI front...
in May 1990. Some OS/2 users accused of the magazine of ignoring OS/2 2.x versions and later.
During the dot-com bubble
The dot-com bubble was a speculative bubble covering roughly 1995–2000 during which stock markets in industrialized nations saw their equity value rise rapidly from growth in the more...
, 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
Zinio is a publishing technology and services company, which provides sales and distribution of printed material in digital format including magazines, books, catalogs, newsletters and research...
in 2004. For some years in the late 1990s, a CD-ROM
A CD-ROM is a pre-pressed compact disc that contains data accessible to, but not writable by, a computer for data storage and music playback. The 1985 “Yellow Book” standard developed by Sony and Philips adapted the format to hold any form of binary data....
version containing interactive reviews and the full text of back issues was available. In the 1980s, there was a PC Disk Magazine
edition which was published on floppy disk
A floppy disk is a disk storage medium composed of a disk of thin and flexible magnetic storage medium, sealed in a rectangular plastic carrier lined with fabric that removes dust particles...
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. Dvorak's name has also appeared on many books.