Tech Industry

Walt Mossberg signs 'out'

The legendary tech journalist is retiring. He wrote his last column on Thursday.

Walt Mossberg

Walt Mossberg was the ultimate consumer advocate for tech, telling readers in 1991: "Personal computers are just too hard to use, and it isn't your fault."

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For the past 26 years, Walt Mossberg has been telling us what we should know about living, working and playing with tech.

His mission was spelled out pretty clearly when he began writing his weekly personal tech column in The Wall Street Journal back in 1991. Its now-famous opening line: "Personal computers are just too hard to use, and it isn't your fault."

The industry has come a long way since then, as Mossberg noted Thursday in his farewell column on Recode before signing "out."

"The products have gotten more reliable and easier to use, and the users more sophisticated. You can now hand an iPad to a 6-year-old and, with just a bit of help, she will very likely learn how to operate it quickly. That's amazing, given that the iPad is far more powerful than any complex PC I was testing in the 1990s."

Tech continues to evolve, and while he won't be musing on the next big thing, Mossberg predicts the future will be one where computers "fade in the background." Emerging tech like voice recognition, AI, smart homes and self-driving cars will become part of the ambient technology he says will, in the next two decades, be activated "by a voice command, a person entering the room, a change in blood chemistry, a shift in temperature, a motion. Maybe even just a thought."

Mossberg's contribution to all things tech is notable. Even as he stress-tested everything from computers to software to phones, he pushed companies to always do better. Thanks to his influence, many products were refined to work the way we needed them to.

"We've all had a hell of a ride for the last few decades, no matter when you got on the roller coaster," he said. "It's been exciting, enriching, transformative."

It certainly has. Thanks, Walt, for taking us on the journey with you. Good luck. We wish you well.

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