One could see it coming – issues of InfoWorld down to 60 pages, advertisers disappearing from the recent issues except for IBM and Microsoft. Now rest assured, InfoWorld will still be available on the Web and many of the same excellent writers like Tom Yager and Ephraim Schwartz will still be found there. But make no mistake – InfoWorld is reeling.
It took 3-5 years for Computerworld to get up off its similar move to Web-only production. InfoWorld hopefully wont take as long. I had thought that InfoWorld might avoid the loss of its print side. The publication has been issuing some of the finest reports and reviews in the business. I have quite a collection of must Infoworld reading from just this year:
Pillars of Data – March 12th examines the baseline requirements in the World of Data;
12 Future Technologies – February 19th highlights 12 trends that may seem crackpot, but …
Virtualization: Under the Hood – February 12ths tour de force review of virtualization technologies.
Combining reports of this caliber into broader symposium and shows on Portals, SOA Strategies, and Virtualization Directions I thought would provide an additional revenue stream that would help to carry the print edition through rough times.
Apparently not so.
Now this reviewer has been particularly hard on the IT Trade Press because it has treated some topics with kid gloves – think of loose lips database standards by many vendors or Microsofts deliberate thwarting of all Web standards for 6 years effectively enforced by no updates to IE during that time. InfoWorld, with a few exceptions, did not distinguish itself here. But it has been candid about the worth (and foibles) of Linux and has been reasonably open about Open Source in general. However, Infoworlds major competitors – Information Week and eWeek are not in much better shape. Users looking for good top-notch reviews will have to scrounge around. The business press like Business Week (Stephen Wildstrom), NYTimes (David Pogue), and Wall Street Journal (Walt Mossberg) are more on a star system of IT coverage and lack the breadth and depth of the IT trade press.
There is already a vacuum of good IT hardware and software reviews – nobody has done the in depth performance benchmarks of Vista versus Apple or Vista versus Windows XP that certainly would be of great interest (only Vista versus Linux is available here). 10 years ago there would have been 3-4 good performance reviews; 20 years ago double that easily. Does this mean that the central core of IT is starting like a helium Sun to cool down ? You know what that means – Nova next.