Future Publishing has blamed the sudden scrapping of its consumer computer magazine launch, Project Click, on unfavourable conditions in the home PC sector.
Project Click was intended as a rival for VNU Business Publications' Computeractive, which sells 325,000 copies per fortnight, and had even poached some of its staff.
Former Computeractive deputy editor Dylan Armburst left VNU in August to become launch editor of the aborted project. He said it was a 'complete and utter shock and a huge disappointment.'
Future had told him and the other 15 staff that a 'downturn in the market' was the reason.
Computeractive editor James Harding believes that other issues explain the publisher's sudden decision: 'It is really to do with Future's own position and its strategy; they are having to rein things back.'
At present the market is no more volatile than usual, he said: 'We are not suffering.'
Future managing director Mike Frey denied that last month's discovery of a pounds 4.2m hole in the accounts of its French division had anything to do with Project Click's demise: 'This is a local decision based purely on logical conditions. The market has changed. These are not happy times.'
The publisher is attempting to relocate the launch journalists within the group. It has a variety of IT titles, such as PC Plus, PC Format and .net.