Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Walt Mossberg Will Retire in June

Walt Mossberg, writing in Recode:

It was a June day when I began my career as a national journalist. I stepped into the Detroit Bureau of the Wall Street Journal and started on what would be a long, varied, rewarding career. I was 23 years old, and the year was 1970. That’s not a typo.

So it seems fitting to me that I’ll be retiring this coming June, almost exactly 47 years later. I’ll be hanging it up shortly after the 2017 edition of the Code Conference, a wonderful event I co-founded in 2003 and which I could never have imagined back then in Detroit.

Mossberg has had an incredible career. He really was the first mainstream technology columnist, and he set the formula for the genre’s followers, successors, and imitators — myself included.

Ben Thompson wrote a thoughtful tribute to Mossberg:

There have always been grumblings that Mossberg is “biased” towards Apple. In fact, though, while Mossberg did by and large favor Apple products — Apple made five of Mossberg’s 12 most influential products — the bias was right there in his first column:

Personal computers are just too hard to use, and it’s not your fault.

Mossberg was Steve Jobs’ favorite columnist — and Mossberg a frequent admirer of Apple’s products — because both had the same vision: bringing these geeky, impenetrable, and rather ugly boxes of wires and chips and disks called personal computers to normal people, convinced said computers could, if only made accessible, fundamentally transform a user’s life.

I think that opening salvo was what made Mossberg the original technology columnist for companies to impress, and for readers to look up to. Though there are still those who believe that high technology trumps all, the vast majority of writers have come around to realize that ease-of-use for all users is what makes for a great product or service.