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PC Magazine (sometimes referred to as PC Mag) is a computer magazine published by Ziff Davis. A print edition was published from 1982 to January 2009. Publication of online editions started in late 1994 and continue to this day.
The first issue of the magazine, dated February–March 1982, was 96 pages and appeared as PC and described itself as "The Independent Guide to IBM Personal Computers". (The word Magazine was not added to the logo until the first major redesign in January 1986). PC Magazine was created by David Bunnell, Eddie Currie and Tony Gold, a co-founder of Lifeboat Associates 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[clarification needed] to New York City, New York. Bunnell and his staff left to form PC World magazine.
PC Magazine at first published new issues every two months, but soon moved to monthly issues. After the December 1983 issue exceeded 800 pages in size, in 1984 the magazine began publishing new issues every two weeks, with each about 400 pages in size. In January 2008 the magazine dropped back to monthly issues. Print circulation peaked at 1.2 million in the late 1990s. In November 2008 it was announced that the print edition would be discontinued as of the January 2009 issue, but the online version at pcmag.com would continue. By this time print circulation had declined to about 600,000.
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. 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.
PC Magazine provides reviews and previews of the latest hardware and software for the information technology professional. Articles are written by leading experts including 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)
- 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
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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 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,[when?] the magazine runs about 150 pages an issue.[clarification needed] 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 Macintosh software and hardware.
PC Magazine 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 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" Intel 80286 (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 bubble, 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. In the 1980s, there was a PC Disk Magazine edition which was published on floppy disk.
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.
PC Magazine is now available in an interactive tablet format for the iPad on the iTunes Store.
- Sandler, Corey (November 1984). "IBM: Colossus of Armonk". Creative Computing. p. 298. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
- "Front cover". PC Magazine. Feb-Mar 1982. p. 1. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- Wise, Deborah (December 20, 1982). "Staff Walks Out on PC Magazine, Starts New Journal". InfoWorld (Popular Computing, Inc.) 4 (50): 1, 8. ISSN 0199-6649.
- "PC Magazine issues list". PC Magazine. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
- Lance Ulanoff (November 19, 2008). "PC Magazine Goes 100% Digital". PC Magazine. Retrieved 2011-03-19.
- Clifford, Stephanie (November 19, 2008). "PC Magazine, a Flagship for Ziff Davis, Will Cease Printing a Paper Version". The New York Times.
- Dan Costa (July 12, 201). "Editor's Note: Six the Hard Way". PC Magazine. Retrieved April 5, 2012.