Taking Another Byte: Legendary Tech Brand Revived

By Steve Smith

Time and the digital migration have not been kind to the tech magazine. Only a handful of consumer computing titles remain, and the days of phone book-size Industry Standards or Computer Shoppers brimming with ads are long gone. One of the pioneering brands in the IT tech space, Byte, is slated to relaunch at Byte.com in Q2 2011. The next life for the Byte brand comes courtesy of United Business Media’s TechWeb platform. In this new life, Byte will be a consumer tech guide for professionals and include news, commentary, product reviews and columns. Byte.com will be spearheaded by veteran tech journalist and TV personality Gina Smith.

Smith will be editor and and host of video shows for this site as well as for UBM’s InformationWeek and TechWeb. The coverage will include topics related to technology in the workplace, from software to gadgets and online tech.

The revival of the Byte brand was inspired by online traffic patterns across the TechWeb sites showing that its audience of tech professionals craved more information about consumer tech products. “Whether those information needs have to do with the consumerization of business technologies or a personal interest in consumer technology, we need to keep feeding that demand,” said UBM TechWeb chief content officer David Berlind.

Byte was founded in 1975 as a transformed amateur radio magazine. It flourished in the late ’70s and through the ’80s as one of the authoritative voices on microcomputer revolution. It was acquired by McGraw-Hill in 1979 and then sold to CMP Media in 1998. That same year, CMP folded the title in the U.S. while international versions continued. The brand existed for a while as a Web-only affair. Many of its columnists, like famed "Chaos Manor" scribe Jerry Pournelle, spun off their monthly items into stand-alone Web blogs.


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