PC World, 1983-2013

The 30-year-old print magazine about computing meets its digital master.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

PC World, the well-known San Francisco computing magazine that went head-to-head with PC Magazine for almost three decades, has announced that it will cease print publication in the U.S. and go fully digital.

The decision comes five years after its rival made the same call.

Former editor Harry McCracken, now writing for TIME, wrote a lovely essay about the old glossy, brimming with silicon-coated nostalgia. (He leads off with a photograph of a young Bill Gates talking to the magazine's staff about MS-DOS 2.0. Enough said.)

"The news isn't shocking," he writes. "In fact, it's sort of a shock it didn't happen several years ago."

Spoken like a true technologist.

PC World (more recently stylized "PCWorld") was launched shortly before the November 1982 Comdex trade show. In just a few years, the magazine rode the wave of increasing interest in the personal computer to success, flush with ads from technology companies that were poised to take over the world. (For once, that clichéd phrase rings true: they really have.) PCW and its peer publications—PCMag, but also BYTE, Computer Shopper, and in 1991, a fresh-faced CompuServe service dubbed ZDNet—helped bring a niche interest into the mainstream.

It's a testament to the entire segment that their initial missions were achieved, and is precisely why the name "Personal Computer World" sounds so quaint to us today: What computer isn't personal in 2013? Are we not living in the world of personal computers? (Is there any other?)

Nonetheless, for a magazine that always touted a digital future, it was only a matter of time before it would have to heed its own predictions and discard the printed pulp forever. R.I.P.

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